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Updated: Aug 16, 2017 at 7:02 PM

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Cow Comfort at Calving (2015)

Anyone who works in the dairy industry will be aware that there is tremendous variation in maternity pen design. Part of the reason for this variability is a lack of research on what types of environments are best for the cow while she is giving birth. Research at UBC has now recruited the cows’ help in designing more appropriate maternity pens, by conducting a series of ‘preference’ experiments in which we allow the cows to vote with their feet. Below we describe the results of three different preference experiments designed to determine what features are important in the design of maternity pens.

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New Database for Registered Crop Varieties

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has introduced a new database containing all of the registered varieties of crop kinds subject to registration in Canada. The Registered Varieties List (RVL) provides single-window access to the most up-to-date information on varieties registered in Canada. Users can now download the most current data on registered varieties from one location at any time. This searchable and downloadable database will improve the accuracy of variety registration information. The Registered Varieties List can be found on the CFIA website.

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Just Farmers - an informal Agricultural Newsletter from the Bulkley Valley

JUNE 2015 edition topics include: Growing alfalfa in the Bulkley Valley; forage plots; A mixed livestock farm; Beltsville Small White Turkey

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New regulations encourage farming on ALR

New regulations under the Agricultural Land Commission Act will encourage farming and help B.C.’s agricultural community fill the growing demand for B.C. food, locally and around the world, Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced today. The regulations will help farmers throughout B.C. take advantage of the demand for value-added B.C. goods by promoting the use of co-operatively owned processing facilities.

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Changes to Growing Degree Day Calculator

Request from a Farmwest member:  First of all ... I want to say thanks for your awesome growing degree calculator for our region. To have something this accurate for my exact city (Chilliwack) is just so handy to have. My only issue is that your base (threshold) only goes up to 10 degrees. I grow watermelon (threshold=13) and eggplant (threshold=16). It should be really simple to tune your software to allow the threshold to be raised up to 16 degrees C. Hope you can do that. Thanks again for providing this resource. Robert.

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Ontario restricts use of pesticides blamed for decline of bee populations

The Ontario government has unveiled North America’s first agricultural restrictions on a widely used class of pesticides blamed for the decline in bees and other pollinators. The controversial regulations aimed at reducing the use of neonicotinoid insecticides made by Bayer AG and Syngenta AG by 80 per cent within two years goes into effect on July 1.

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Should farmers sidedress nitrogen fertilizer on their corn fields this year?

  • If the soil nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) in the top 30 cm at the 6-leaf stage of corn (i.e. presidedress nitrate test or PSNT) is greater than 30 parts per million (ppm), there is likely no economic benefit to the sidedress application*.

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Double Cropping Fall Rye for Extra Forage

Fall rye prevents erosion and gives good weed suppression. Rye is very cold tolerant, the hardiest and most disease resistant of the winter cereals. Fall rye has an extensive fibrous root system, can scavenge nitrogen very effectively, and utilizes early spring moisture for rapid growth. Fall rye is faster growing and earlier maturing in the spring than the other winter cereals, including wheat, barley and triticale. This enables an earlier forage harvest and more “double crop” options. Fall rye grows well on lighter and low pH soils, but does not do well on poorly drained, heavier soils. Forage rye is higher yielding, but not as palatable as winter wheat. Rye matures rapidly at the flag-leaf, boot and early-heading stages, with significant reductions in forage quality. This can create the challenge of a very narrow harvest window, particularly if there are rain delays.

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