RobWallbridge

Ontario crop retailer takes deeper jump into organics

By John Greig OrganicBIZ.ca.


RobWallbridge

 

One of the biggest challenges for organic crop farmers is to find solid agronomic information and markets that are reliable.

Larger conventional farm retailers have only made cautious steps into the organic market.

Thompsons Limited, however, has been putting more resources and focus on organic crops since July. The Ontario-based crop supply and marketing company has seen potential in the organic market, which makes some sense as it has a long history in marketing specialty crops.

The company hired Rob Wallbridge, a well-known organic consultant and former certifier to lead its greater push into organics. He’s also a Certified Crop Advisor.

“Thompsons has been in the organic grain markets for a number of years,” he says, including sourcing organic soybeans as part of its identity preserved and non-GMO soybean purchasing. “They found a growing demand for other organic crops.”

Thompsons is now buying organic corn, wheat, soybeans and some rye.

In the past Thompsons would have bought organic soybeans from a farmer, but the farmer would have had to find markets for his or her other crops. A more diverse crop rotation is necessary for organic production, and finding reliable markets for all of their organic production has proved challenging and a barrier for some farmers.

He’s very very knowledgeable. He’s farmed, he’s done the whole gammit. – Steve Hartman, organic crops and milk seller

Steve Hartman sells crops and milk organically, including some soybeans in the past to Thompsons in Granton. He says the hiring of Wallbridge shows that Thompson is serious about organics. Read more

soyField

London soybean farmers hope to match record set by wheat crop

By John Miner, The London Free Press


After harvesting a record wheat crop earlier this summer, some farmers in the London region are looking at scoring a repeat with soybeans.

“Soybeans are much better than anyone anticipated. Many people in the London area are having record yields,” Peter Johnson, a Southwestern Ontario-based agronomist with Real Agriculture, said Wednesday.

Soybeans are Ontario’s biggest cash crop with sales in 2015 at the farm gate exceeding $1.4 billion. In Middlesex County, soybeans typically bring in more than $100 million a year.

While the London region and much of Southwestern Ontario fared well, it wasn’t the same story in the Niagara Peninsula where it remained dry through most of August. Read more

GLASI_map_CG

Success on Great Lakes phosphorus

wheat seedlings

Can winter wheat get too big?

Source: Wheat School on RealAgriculture.com.


Ontario’s winter wheat crop is growing like gangbusters thanks to unseasonably warm fall temperatures. But could it grow too much?

“No way,” says agronomist Peter Johnson in Real Agriculture’s latest Wheat School episode. “The only thing we have to worry about is if it’s still growing on Christmas Eve, like last year.” In that case growers may have to adjust spring nitrogen rates.

The 2016 wheat crop benefitted greatly from early planting to produce a record 96.7 bushels per acre. Johnson has encouraged growers to plant early again this spring, but many have asked whether plants could get too big as good growing conditions persist.

In this episode, Johnson looks at a fast growing wheat field and concludes that the plants can still add more tillers. He says last year many plants had 10 to 12 tillers and he’s seen nowhere near that number in fields he’s scouted this fall.

“Well advanced wheat in the fall makes you money next spring,” says Johnson. “This is a an awesome crop.”

Dry beans, peas and pulses

Hasta la vista, meat; more pulses needed to feed hungry world

Call to reduce world meat consumption could benefit Canada’s pulse growers

By

Everyone from university professors to investment bankers and even Arnold Schwarzenegger are adding their voices to calls for reducing world meat consumption, in favour of a greater focus on plant-based proteins. As that sentiment mounts, it could bode well for Canada’s pea and lentil growers.

A group of investors representing US$1.25 trillion in assets is the latest voice calling for a shift away from meat-based diets towards a greater focus on plant-based protein. The investment group, linked through FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return) and ShareAction, sent a letter to more than a dozen global food companies, including Kraft Heinz and Nestle, highlighting the risks of an over-reliance on factory farmed livestock and the need to diversify into plant-based proteins.

A recent report from the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, published in April, expressed a similar sentiment, with the study focusing on both the environmental and health benefits to be gained from lowering the amount of animal-sourced foods in diets.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron are campaigning in support of a Chinese government led initiative to reduce meat consumption by 50 per cent, under the tagline ‘Less Meat, Less Heat.’ Read more