ABCs Summer 2017

    There’s math, civics, science, and other subjects on the curriculum in this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You’ll find a lot of figures including the additional 20,000 head the Maritime Beef Sector Development and Expansion Strategy (page 16) plans for the region by 2027.
    The strategy addresses a number of key issues the beef industry will face over the next decade, including: price insurance, cost of production control, value added market access, and business continuance planning between farm generations.
    “Don’t count your hours,” long-time sheep producer Bryce Anderson of Sussex, New Brunswick, (page 46) advises prospective farmers. “If you’re going to go into sheep farming, or any kind of farming, you’ve got to be prepared for the long hours and, I guess, the heartbreak that comes along with it.”
    The numbers were down at the Nappan breeding stock sale (page 28). The average price for 58 bulls at the 2016 sale was $4,569.83. The average price for bulls at this year’s sale dropped to $3,335.71. 
    Sean Firth analyzes (page 30) both the test station sale and the Balamore Farms 5th Annual Thickness Sells bull and heifer sale (page 42) that posted a $6,986 average on 18 bulls.
    And three is a lucky number for Colby MacQuarrie of Winsloe who had three champions at the P.E.I. Easter Beef Show (page 41) including the overall grand champion.
    For those interested in civics, demands from a group of northwestern New Brunswick cattle producers instigated a series of meetings (page 47) about the state of the industry. The group, which called for the resignation of the N.B. Cattle Producers chair and employees, also wants direct payments from the province for the productive females in their herds. 
    And you might want to learn more about the N.B. farmers who want changes made to the Livestock Operations Act (page 10).
    In the scientific field, the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association (CFGA) launched an Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Program project in Fredericton, New Brunswick, (page 39) that will demonstrate to farmers the carbon sequestration (sink) potential of their farmlands. The first phase, CFGA executive director Cedric MacLeod of Fredericton said, is to develop an approved greenhouse gas quantification protocol for the forage sector. 
    Forages were on the agenda at the Maritime Beef Conference. The University of Wisconsin’s Dr. Dan Undersander underlined the importance of forage quality (page 23) and had some recommendations on high quality forage production and preparation for feedlot operators (page 22). Dr. Dan Schaefer told cattlemen (page 17) there was money to be made finishing Holstein steers. 
    There’s a lot of history in this issue of ABS. The Canadian Simmental Association is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Trevor MacDonald put together (page 36) the Maritime history of the breed.
    Carleton County Spring Show & Sale officials had to search through the archives (page 45) in April. Ben Alward’s victory was the first time in 32 years that a purebred Hereford had been grand champion at the event.
    And there’s a lot of history at the 165-year-old Briggs and Little Woolen Mill near Harvey, New Brunswick, (page 26). Demand remains steady at the mill that has survived through two World Wars and four fires.
    Along with columns from specialists and industry representatives, ABS also covers the art of presenting (page 19) prize-winning P.E.I. burger campaigns.

Now about homework... 

Sorry, wrong number
    There was a mistake in Rib Ends in the Spring issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep. 
    In the Expansion story, ABS said Geoff Young of Roaches Line, Newfoundland and Labrador, hoped to develop a 123-acre beef-hay operation. That number, based on information published in our source, was incorrect. He hoped to expand his N.L. Cattle Company Ltd. by 305 acres. 
    Young told ABS he is the first purebred Simmental breeder in the province and is registered with the Canadian Simmental Association.

The age of unreason Spring 2017

The age of unreason Spring 2017
    Atlantic Stockyards Limited has become a target of animal protectionist organizations. Animal Justice of British Columbia recently filed a complaint of animal abuse against the Murray Siding, Nova Scotia, company.
    Owner Sean Firth is frustrated but not lacking in resolve. Last fall when vegan members of N.S. Farm Animal Save appeared at Atlantic Stockyards with protest signs he patiently tried to educate them about how livestock auctions work. 
    But logic and reason didn’t work and he wasted his breath. “They didn’t want to learn anything. They don’t believe animals should be farmed.”
    Firth eventually “kicked them off” his property. “They’re no longer on the property and will not be again.”

Read More

Set a spell Winter 2016

Set a spell
  Get a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and make yourself comfortable; it’s going to take you a while to read this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You’re headed to New Zealand with Maritime Beef Council General Manager Ellen Crane. She’ll talk a bit about the International Beef Alliance Conference (page 28) and show you some amazing photographs. “It’s very interesting how they integrate the beef and sheep together; they make the most of their land by doing that. The sheep eat whatever the cattle don’t,” Crane says.
    Yousef Papadopoulos and John Duynisveld will tell you about a new alfalfa variety (page 18) that can weather extreme weather. In the forage breeding program at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Kentville Research and Development Centre, they developed a rhizomatous variety of alfalfa that can be productive in both years of drought and years of excessive rain.

Read More

Smiling faces Sheep and beef farmers upbeat Fall 2016

    “It’s one thing to go to (breed) meetings and move motions… but it is another to have people know what kind of cattle you have, and understand where you are coming from,” David Francis 

    Francis was talking about hosting the Maritime Charolais Picnic (page 46) at his Prince Edward Island farm. But the deep-rooted satisfaction about communication and camaraderie he spoke about can be found throughout this issue of Atlantic Beef & Sheep.
    You can see it on the faces of the people at the Maritime Beef Conference (page 24) where farmers enjoyed presentations from an impressive line-up of knowledgeable speakers.  
    It’s evident as Duncan Fraser (page 32) and Les Halliday (page 48) talk about their experiences at the Canadian Beef Industry Conference. Duncan said there were about 700 delegates in Calgary, Alberta, including 20 Maritimers. The gathering included beef farmers from Mexico and Brazil.

Read More

When spring springs Summer 2016

When spring springs

    Spring officially arrives in late March. But for many the season begins with the Maritime Beef Test Station Sale. 
    The rafters in the Nappan sale barn hummed with excitement April 2 as a huge crowd exchanged news and told stories. It felt like a family reunion as friends and colleagues were greeted warmly with smiles, handshakes, and banter.
    They’d come from three provinces and from all branches of the industry—purebred and commercial breeders and cow-calf and feedlot operators—for the annual sale. 

Read More

Heather Jones to the helm Spring 2016

Heather Jones to the helm
    The words “needs no introduction,” come to mind as we introduce our new Atlantic Beef & Sheep editor, Heather Jones, farm journalist and editor for many years of the Farm Focus newspaper. Please welcome Heather aboard. At the same time, our thanks to columnist and freelance writer Rachel Brighton who served as editor of ABS last year and who continues as a special assignment contributor to DvL Publishing Inc.   
    Heather comes to the job with broad knowledge of agriculture in the region, a wealth of contacts, creative writing skills, and a warm, personal touch, all of which are reflected in this issue’s “Breed Notes;” the profile of Sam White, young farmer from Yarmouth County (page 14); and the comments that follow. DvL

Read More

Atlantic Canada’s advantage Winter 2015

Atlantic Canada’s advantage
Quality animals, grown on farms we love

    In the beef industry, where times are a-changing rapidly, Atlantic Beef and Sheep is proud to publish very helpful insight from two long-time columnists, Sean Firth and Charlie Gracey, who put fluctuating prices into perspective. On the pasture front, John Duynisveld shares lessons learned on his farm and George Fullerton files two stories detailing grazing strategies and pasture management practices on two New Brunswick farms. 

Read More

On the fiber trail FALL 2015

On the fiber trail
    In my interview with Dale MacAusland for the story on page 42, the managing director MacAusland’s Woollen Mills Ltd. in Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island, observed that sheep farmers in Atlantic Canada don’t have much interest in wool, especially when the price for lamb is good. That may be true. MacAusland was speaking from his own experience in sourcing wool directly from farmers for making blankets. 

Read More

Enterprising young farmers are an inspiration Summer 2015

Enterprising young farmers are an inspiration Summer 2015
Beef farmer Wayne McQuaid of South Melville, Prince Edward Island, raised a beef herd by the time he was 15 (see his story on page 40). Christie D’Aubin, 17, of Bridgetown, N.S., has a herd of five cows and may one day be selling beef to her parents (see the story starting page 24). Stories like these are not at all surprising to families who raise beef or breed sheep, but they sure are to me and to other people who are on the outside looking in.

Read More

Please welcome Rachel Brighton, editor (Spring 2015)

After 25 years, isn’t it time Atlantic Canada’s only magazine published exclusively in support of the region’s beef (and more recently sheep) farmers had a new editor? 

    I think so, which is why it is a great pleasure to introduce readers of this magazine to journalist Rachel Brighton, a native of Australia where sheep outnumber people three to one. We are fortunate to have a professional journalist of Brighton’s caliber taking on this important role. She will be working primarily from her home in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia, in the Annapolis Valley.


Read More

Lets talk turkey (Winter 2014)

    Many Nova Scotians were upset to the point of outrage before Thanksgiving when the provincial Turkey Farmers association used their established, and to now largely ignored, powers to deny a well-loved and respected – although unlicensed – abattoir owner in Pictou County the right to slaughter turkeys. 
    Thousands have signed petitions decrying the call, for Gordon Fraser has for nearly four decades provided much needed good and clean service in his Millville shop to satisfied customers for miles around.

Read More

The pulse is strong in cattle land (Summer 2014)

    Here’s an easy way to take the pulse of the cattle industry, at least at the cow and calf level. Try buying a fence stake after April. This spring they became harder and harder to find until by late May it was a scramble to find more than a dozen here and a half dozen there. By that time some manufacturers reported they were done for the year while others could not keep up with demand. It did not matter if the hunt was for hackmatack, spruce, or green, rot-in-a-year fir. 

Read More

To Russia with love

    I dropped an email note to Les Halliday, Prince Edward Island’s beef specialist and regular contributor to Atlantic Beef and Sheep with his “Letter from the Island” column. He replied from Russia. Aha, hobnobbing with Vladimir Putin at the Sochi Olympics! No, Les wrote back, “Not Olympics. I am in Orenburg doing workshops on beef.”  Well, someone’s got to help those Russian cattle farmers learn how to provide Larry and Pat Ward’s Herefords the kind of TLC they were raised to expect and thrive under on Willow Pond Farm in Nova Scotia’s Musquodoboit Valley.

Read More

Winding down, Great pasture season; so-so for hay

    As days grow shorter and nights cooler, pastures that responded beautifully to copious amounts of rain earlier this summer and slowed through August are now rebounding just in time for a checking frost. For many we spoke with, making hay – especially good, early hay – was a heart-breaking experience.   Sodden meadows brought to mind the comment of an old friend who, visiting Prince Edward Island one wet summer years ago, cursed the lack of rocks, which he had a-plenty on his own Nova Scotia farm. “You get stuck in the mud and there isn’t a stone to be found to put under your tire.”

Read More

Not so COOL

 With three companies in Canada, H. J. Heinz Canada, subsidiary of H.J. Heinz headquartered in Pittsburg, PA, claims it is, “Canada’s leading processor and marketer of high quality ketchup.” That being the case, why would Ottawa propose a tariff on ketchup, as it has, in retaliation for the U.S. refusal to abide by a World Trade Organization ruling on Country of Origin Labeling? Not COOL. We can hope there are other items on the list of 38 from the U.S. we’d target that would place a hardship on one or more of their industries comparable to COOL’s cost to our cattle industry – estimated to be about a billion dollars a year, according to a report in The Globe and Mail June 6.

Read More

Follow the money!

    Atlantic Beef and Sheep, is an experiment testing a theory that cattle and sheep in Atlantic Canada and the farmers who raise them have enough in common that one magazine can be relevant and helpful to both parties. It addresses the reality that we are bit players in “the industry” here on the East Coast and the best way to hang on is to hang together.

    We welcome stories, opinions, photos, news, drawings, and letters from sheep and beef farmers. Notice “farmers,” not “producers.” We’re hearing more of that recently and about time. The reality is “farmer” is not, as must have been thought for years, a dirty word. “Product” is what economists call anything manufactured. Farmers, the ones we care about, are growing food, a very different thing with very particular challenges and rewards.

Read More