Pulse Beat

Message from MPSG

Toban Dyck, Director of Communications

MANITOBA PULSE & SOYBEAN GROWERS has endured a few disruptions in 2019 and we’d like to think we’re stronger for it. The markets, trade and a decrease in acres contributed to this, and I’ll get to those factors a few inches down, but a major shake-up took place when Executive Director François Labelle was sent to hospital in life-threatening condition at the end of January.

STARS ambulance airlifted him to St. Boniface, where he underwent open-heart surgery. We’re happy to report that the operation was a success and that by the time this magazine hits mailboxes, he’ll be back at MPSG’s helm.

While these disruptions could be seen as setbacks for the association, we’re choosing to view them differently. We are treating them as learning opportunities. In François’s absence, the value he brings to the organization, which was never in doubt, was re-affirmed.

And, as trade disruptions continue to ravage commodity prices, we’re learning how to be even more prudent with your dollars without sacrificing the value we’re delivering back to you and your operations. These are good lessons, and they’re no doubt ones many individual farms are having to learn.

This year is also MPSG’s 35th anniversary, an occasion we hope to celebrate with you all year.

MPSG’s story begins in 1983 when a group of bean growers, along with John Rogalsky from Manitoba Agriculture, met to discuss strategy for accessing the Agricultural Stabilization Act support for Manitoba bean producers, which was at the time being paid to Ontario producers only. When producers contacted Ottawa, they were told that Ottawa would deal with an organized entity only, not with individuals. The organization was officially incorporated on March 13, 1984.

So, to usher in this year of celebration, we couldn’t resist planning a party. We’re hosting a golf tournament at Bridges Golf Course in Starbuck for our members — that’s you! Don’t miss your opportunity to attend and reminisce with past board members, current board members and other pulse and soybean farmers. Following nine holes of Texas scramble golf, there will be a banquet. All proceeds from the day’s celebration as well as a donation from MPSG will go to STARS, who will have a presence at the event. Please see the event advertisement here.

We continue to hope that markets will pick up for soybeans and that this year Manitoba farmers will get those needed late-season rains. Soy remains a very efficient source of protein and we’re hopeful that the global demand for it will eventually outweigh the politics currently blocking its movement around the globe.

We continue to pay attention to the discussions surrounding Agriculture Canada’s supercluster investment in proteins. Director of Research and Production Daryl Domitruk has been actively involved in advocating on behalf of Manitoba’s pulse and soybean industry, fighting for a strong voice at the table.

The world is talking about protein and MPSG has spent time acquiring a piece of the action for Manitoba by ensuring government and industry recognize the unique attributes of Manitoba-grown pulses and soybeans.

MPSG has also received funding for many great research projects under the provincial Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) funding model. See the full list of on-going research projects here.

It was a busy winter featuring great extension events all over Manitoba. And now, Extension Coordinator Laura Schmidt is busy planning a full slate of summer programming ensuring we can pass the latest agronomic information directly to you, our farmers, while giving you the opportunity to engage face-to-face with us. Catch us on July 23 in Carman at MPSG’s SMART Day or on July 24 in Carberry for Crops-a-palooza.

MPSG continues to expand its portfolio of production resources. A growth staging guide for faba beans is included in this issue of Pulse Beat, and a growth staging guide for field peas was published in the December issue. There is also reference to a fungicide checklist in Serena Klippenstein’s Pea Report.

Also, don’t forget to sign up to receive the Bean Report, which has become a signature publication and radio segment of its own. This timely and highly respected extension resource is brought to you through the hard work of many MPSG staff members, including agronomists, Cassandra Tkachuk, Serena Klippenstein and Laura Schmidt.

Our On-Farm Network continues to be a premiere research program for MPSG and its members. Through it, we’re creating partnerships that have enabled us to assess more things in each trial, giving the grower a more complete picture of what’s happening in his or her field in response to a particular input or management decision.

The world continues to talk about pesticide use and maximum residue limits (MRLs) in crops, a discussion that our partners Pulse Canada, Soy Canada and the provincial commodity groups have been actively engaged in. The collaborative campaign Keeping it Clean! and the advisory that comes from it aims to address the MRLs issue and is an excellent resource for farmers.

MPSG has lent its voice to discussions on pesticide use, urging regulators to recognize the important role crop protection products play in ensuring our crops and our ag sector remains profitable and competitive. We’re also proposing ways in which the proper stewardship of these products can improve, to the benefit of our farmer members.

Dry beans saw an increase in acres this growing season, as markets for them have stayed strong. And, as Roquette continues to roll out programming and news of its operations, we hope to see an upward trajectory in pea acres, a crop many farmers have had great success growing.

Her name was briefly mentioned before, but we would like to officially welcome Serena Klippenstein, Production Specialist – West and Megan Bourns, Agronomist – On-Farm Network, to the MPSG team. We’re honoured to have them and we believe they will both be assets to Manitoba’s pulse and soybean industry. Please watch for them and be sure to say hello. We’d also like to welcome summer students Pete Giesbrecht and Julie Gullett.

We hope you have a great summer and an excellent, safe harvest. Drop us a line, if you have any questions or concerns. And, hopefully, we’ll catch you in-person at an event, field tour or on the links at Bridges Golf Course.

— Toban