Hort Morsels - Bits and Pieces - Hort Snacks - May 2017

  Hort Snacks - May 2017
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 Featured Website | Registration for Open Farm Days 2017 | Mental Snacktime | In the News | Summer Farm Employment Program | Q and A | Certified Seed Potatoes = Quality Crop | PrairieSaskatoon-QMOD

Featured Website

Courses for Aspiring, New and Experienced Farmers

Registration for Open Farm Days 2017 NOW OPEN!

The initiative provides an opportunity to support local food producers, educate consumers about agriculture, and generate additional tourism in your area. This year’s event is the weekend of August 19-20, 2017.
For further information or to register by May 31st please go to http://albertafarmdays.com/host-farms-2017

Mental Snacktime – Enthusiasm

  • “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” – Queen Elizabeth II
  • “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  • “Enthusiasm moves the world.” – Arthur Balfour
  • “Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.” – Arnold J. Toynbee
  • “Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.” – Bryant H. McGill
  • “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.” – Dale Carnegie
  • “Enthusiasm is not the same as just being excited. One gets excited about going on a roller coaster. One becomes enthusiastic about creating and building a roller coaster.” – Bo Bennett
In the News
Summer Farm Employment Program

If full time farmers are thinking about hiring a student for summer employment, now is the time to apply. Once again, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will be offering the Summer Farm Employment Program. This program gives Alberta’s youth the opportunity to gain farm work experience and provides wage support to farmers for the months of July and August. Alberta Agriculture and Forestry provides wage support to a maximum of $400 per month as well as worker’s compensation coverage and safety training information.
Employers must own or rent a farming operation in Alberta with gross production of $25,000 per year and work must be directly related to the farming operation. This does not include domestic work or child care. Employers must recruit their own employee, provide daily supervision and ensure safe working conditions for their employee. Monthly records of time worked must be completed by the employer. Employees are paid by the farmer and by the government for each respective part of their salary, which must meet provincial minimum hourly rates.

Employees must be residents of Alberta, between 15 and 24 years of age and cannot be a direct relative of the employee. Employees must not be working fulltime anywhere else or attending school while participating in the program. If they have been working full time prior to July 1 for the employer, they are not eligible for the program. Employees require a social insurance number in order to receive payment under this program.

Farm safety is an emphasis in this program and all summer farm employers and employees are required to review a safety DVD together. Employees must complete and pass a safety quiz based on the DVD information in order to be accepted into the program.

Application forms and detailed information are available on Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s website under Summer Farm Employment Program. Applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. Applications can be printed from the website or obtained by calling the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276). The deadline for applying is May 31st, 2017 and signatures of both employee and employer must be included.

Q and A

Q: Looking back on past seasons, are there any noticeable differences with spring now, versus spring in the past?

A: Yes, I think it stays cooler for two weeks than in the past; seems like the season is slipping
A: Back to more moisture in our soil
A: Not really, I have seen these conditions before here: low snow levels in winter, average temperatures. A bit windier than usual though.
A: Not as much moisture
A: No real difference - in 60 + years, no 2 springs in Alberta have been the same; some earlier, some later. I have painted buildings in early to mid-April, then the following year froze my butt just doing chores
A: Spring seems to be coming earlier.
A: In the Fifties, we planted on May 10 with the soil warm under our bare feet. Then we shifted to much cooler springs expecting freezing weather to the end of the month. We were told to expect going into an ice age because of CO2 filtering the sun. The last few years have gone back to normal.
A: I'm older and taxes are still due April 30 (haha). The geese came 12 days later than last year, yet soil temperatures are relatively the same.
A: Yes
A: We have a dirt basement that is considerably drier than previous years. I suspect it's due to lack of snow. Run off is a lot less through the garden.
A: Spring 2017 is about a month later than Spring 2016. Definitely in time of seeding but I also expect in temperature as well.
A: Weather wise: Sometimes I think we had warmer weather 10 years ago and were able to get seeding earlier in April. The last few years I've had to wear my parka more times seeding in the spring than I use to years ago. Maybe I'm cold blooded now. Industry wise: With the huge increase in labour costs over the last couple of years, it seems we have to nickel and dime our way when planning the crop so we can see profit... but it's still fun and exciting to be in this biz. Time wise: the days are shorter...I use to get a heck of a lot more done in a day before.
A: Tough to say. I do feel it is warmer. I also feel like the amount of cold weather after it warms is less frequent. I always remember warm March days, but then I also remember very cold ones in May. Seems like the later cold days are not happening. And then the Spring feels drier because there is less snow.
A: Yes, a huge difference. In business for almost 30 years the whole growing season has sifted about 3-4 weeks. Springs are later and cooler and falls are longer without killing frosts. In 1980's all cool season crops could be seeded and transplanted by end of April, and warm seeded transplants were in by May 20th. Now cool season transplants go in by May 20 and warm season transplants by June 10. Fall frosts have shifted from August 20 to September 15, most years.
A: No, I don't think so

Next Month’s ? What key factors do you use as indicators for making expansion (or reduction) decisions?

Certified Seed Potatoes = Quality Crop

(Information provided by Deb Hart, Potato Growers of Alberta)
The following is information shared at the recent Potato Health Management Workshops (March 2016):

1. If you are growing in excess of 5 acres, or packing and selling potatoes, you must be licenced by the Potato Growers of Alberta.
2. Under the Alberta Pest Act, Certified seed is the lowest class authorized for planting crops in Alberta. If you are found to be planting uncertified seed you could be receive a fine from the province or be asked to destroy your crop.
3. Source your seed early to prevent disappointment.
4. Build a relationship with the seed grower.
5. Ask for and make sure you receive the field inspection and post-harvest test results for the seed lot you are planting.
6. Make sure the area where you store the seed before planting, and after the crop is harvested, is clean and disinfected. Equipment used for planting and harvesting should be included.
7. Don’t plant or harvest too early or late.
8. Scout and rogue your fields for pests, weeds and disease.
9. Grade potatoes going into storage to prevent issues later.

Have confidence you have a quality product to sell to your customers!

Contact Information:
Deb Hart
Seed Coordinator - Potato Growers of Alberta
Located at:
Crop Diversification Centre North
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
17507 Fort Road
Edmonton, AB T5Y 6H3
Office: 780-415-2305
Email: deb@albertapotatoes.ca


Control Entomosporium leaf and berry spot disease effectively and predict harvest times

Exclusive offer free to full members of the PFGA, SFGA or AFFPA

Attention Saskatoon Orchard Managers

Protect your berry yields and predict harvest date with this disease model tool which has been extensively evaluated across the prairies the past 4 years with amazing results.

“This model is a useful tool to help predict the pathogen E. mespili, which affects the majority of saskatoon crops,” said researcher Dr. Quinn Holtslag, “and serve as an operations planning tool for producers across the prairies.”

“This program should help producers’ bottom line and may also have environmental benefits,” he said, noting that there is potential for reduced fungicide applications. “In the end, customers should be more confident in the quality and consistency of saskatoon fruit.”

Simply enter into the model:
  • Daily min and max temperatures from budbreak until fruit harvest (or Aug.1)
  • Rainfall events during flowering
  • Various plant growth stages (bud break, 50% flowering, fruit harvest)
The model will generate your orchard spray schedule and predict harvest date. The first fungicide spray of
propiconazole-based products occurs after the first rain event that occurs 4 days after flowering.

What do you need:
1) MIN/MAX Thermometer in your orchard
2) propiconazole-type fungicide
3) Access to the internet.
The program is accessed through: www.prairiesaskatoon.com
For 2011 (and later) Model users - If you had an account last year, use the same login/password

Simply contact your provincial horticulture specialist to confirm your provincial fruit grower membership status and to receive your PrairieSaskatoon-QMOD password. See below:

Alberta: Robert.Spencer@gov.ab.ca
Saskatchewan: Forrest.Scharf@gov.sk.ca
Manitoba: Anthony.Mintenko@gov.mb.ca

For more information please contact your prov. rep. listed above
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Robert Spencer.
This information published to the web on April 27, 2017.