Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show makes us expect to see “something new.” Everything from multi-hybrid planters to robotic milkers and the latest in all-terrain vehicles have made their debuts at the Woodstock, Ont. show. This year’s 22nd annual edition was no exception. Below, we discuss some of the launches and announcements that caught our attention.
First, though, we also want to talk numbers. Over 43,000 attended the show, with Wednesday setting a new one-day record. And it wasn’t just the temperature. Agriculture’s thirst for the best that modern technology can offer is as strong as ever.
Kubota’s new M7 tractor
Kubota Canada began its Outdoor Farm Show festivities a day early, with a gathering at its new permanent structure on the farm showgrounds. It was there that the company also launched two new products, the M7 tractor line and its SSV skid steer loader.
Kubota has made considerable inroads into higher horsepower tractor lines, particularly with its M5 and M6 machines. With the new M7, that progression continues, including engines boasting 131, 151 and 171 horsepower ratings. There’s also an extensive list of features, including the Kubota V6108 engine with selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and common rail system (CRS) technology that meets Tier 4 Final emissions standards. In all there will be three different levels of performance for the M7: Standard, Premium and Premium KVT (Kubota Variable Transmission, the company’s answer to the CVT design). The standard will come with open-centre hydraulics and power-shift transmission, the premium will offer both open-centre hydraulics and a 24-speed transmission, and the Premium KVT will offer a “virtually infinite” number of forward and reverse speeds.
“It’s a natural progression for us, and in terms of flexibility, this tractor will do some things that the M6 won’t from a horsepower standpoint,” said David Webster, general manager for sales and marketing for Kubota Canada. “You look at the hydraulic capabilities that are built into it, with a closed-centre load-sensing system, and an ISO monitor for running attachments. So it’s a pretty capable machine.”
The flexibility of the M7 also means it will be adaptable to a variety of applications. Webster says dealers in Western Canada as well as current customers who are running the M6 are eager to see the M7, likely to be used in cattle and hay operations where its improved hydraulic capacity is expected to shine.
“They can do a few more things with that, where they’re looking for a heavier tractor and some more power,” added Webster. “In the East, we’ll still see some hay and dairy applications, and perhaps some more tillage, more so than in the West.”
The Skid Steer loader is available in two models. The SSV65 comes with a 64-hp engine, a rated operating capacity of 1,950 lbs. (885 kg) and a bucket breakout force of 4,839 lbs. (2,195 kg). The SSV75 has a 74.3-hp engine, a 2,690-lb. (1,220 kg) operating capacity and a breakout force of 5,884 lbs. (2,669 kg). Thanks to the Kubota Shockless Ride function, each model offers a smooth response, complete with a unique vertical lift design, a long reach and high bucket, plus a variety of attachments — from an auger to stump grinder to power rake and tiller.
Farm, Food & Beyond
In 2016, Ontario’s Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) will be 25 years old, with more than 38,000 farm families participating in the program. Now, seven organizations have joined in “Farm, Food & Beyond,” a collaborative effort to upgrade the EFP with a focus on different levels of sustainability as well as helping to bridge the gap between farming and consumers. Dr. Gord Surgeoner, chair of the Sustainable Farm Coalition’s steering committee, was the moderator at a press conference held during the first day of the Outdoor Farm Show. Representatives of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), Christian Farmers’ Federation of Ontario (CFFO), the Presidents’ Council, Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT), the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Farm & Food Care Ontario and the Provision Coalition were on hand with short presentations.
Surgeoner says the focus of Farm, Food & Beyond is to extend the foundation previously laid by the EFP, which was voluntary, but also clarified the methods for farmers to carry out various management practices. With this new program, the focus will be on “people, the planet and profitability.” As much as others may demand traceability or define sustainability in their own terms, said Surgeoner, farmers must be profitable in their operations.
“Everyone has their definition of sustainability and if you look at many of them, it’s usually for a single crop or a single customer, and our farmers could be doing five or six things for everybody,” said Surgeoner. “We believe that we needed to say what we thought was sustainable… without profitability, no farm is sustainable — and that doesn’t come out in a lot of equations.”
One other fact that Surgeoner emphasized was that there will be another four million people in Ontario in the next 25 years. That increases the importance of sound science and the need to evaluate technologies, as well as putting good legislation in place, protecting farmland and assuring farmers continue to use the land wisely. That’s why part of the mandate for this group is to extend that communication outward from the producer to the food value chain and the consumer. For OFA president Don McCabe, it’s also important to build the vehicle from within the agri-food industry in order to avoid having regulations imposed from outside.
“We have such an information age and so much information coming at us, we need to be using that in our management decisions, but we also need to be looking past the farm gate like we never have before,” said McCabe. “We have a society that doesn’t trust the farmer. So we need to be able to start backstopping and bringing our credibility back further into the future.”
The latest technology to provide growers with more options for weed management is also one of the more anticipated. The 2015 Outdoor Farm Show was the place where growers could get an up-close look at the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, featuring Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and a production system that promotes diversity and stewardship with this technology.
Almost 20 years ago, Roundup Ready soybeans were introduced first with the promise of reduced costs, and then with an expected yield bump of 4.5 bu./ac. In 2009, the launch of Roundup Ready 2 Yield technology boosted yields by another 2.5 bu./ac. With the introduction of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, growers could see another 2.4 bu./ac. in yield, plus residual activity up to 14 days from the combination of glyphosate and dicamba.
Using dicamba with glyphosate also offers excellent tank-mix compatibility plus good to excellent control of redroot pigweed and lamb’s quarters. Importantly, it also injects a Group 4 herbicide into the equation for resistance management and to keep the technology viable as long as possible.
It’s one thing to introduce a new crop production system, but Monsanto is determined to emphasize that the “how” of managing this technology is every bit as important as the “what” that’s being planted. That’s why each tour lasted at least 45 minutes. The stewardship focus behind this new technology was obvious, with repeated mentions of the importance of application requirements, including water volumes, spray nozzle selection, boom heights, and of particular interest, a triple-rinse procedure for cleanout.
Label directions suggest water volumes of 10 to 20 gallons per acre, with wind speeds between three and 15 km/hour and ground speeds less than 25km/hour. Nozzles and operating pressures should be sufficient to produce very coarse or ultra-coarse droplets and boom height should be maintained at 50 cm above crop canopy, all to reduce drift.
Tuesday night, DuPont Pioneer held its official “housewarming” party, with attendees registering for the “Seed for Life” contest, an opportunity to win an annual quantity of Pioneer-brand seed. The contest is open to farmers from Eastern Canada only, with the winner receiving seed product for up to 25 years (to a maximum retail value of $1.25 million). The contest also features five secondary prices of “Seed for a Season,” to a maximum retail value of $10,000.
According to Collin Phillip, business director for Eastern Canada, the evening’s proceedings exhibited a commitment to eastern Canadian agriculture in two important ways. One was symbolism of the company’s new permanent structure for the Outdoor Farm Show. The second stems from the “Seed for Life” contest and the notion that not having to buy seed for one or several years could help with college or university tuition, or investing back into land or equipment.
“This is part of Pioneer’s investment in general in Canada and certainly in Eastern Canada,” said Phillip. “We’re focused on Pioneer Eastern Canada being more of a growth business. It’s a very steady mature business for all agriculture industry players, unlike the West, where there are millions of acres that can convert to corn and soybeans. In the East, it’s pretty stable, so we’ve launched our contest, partly as a way of giving back to our customers, but also as a way to create some interest in the industry.”