Please review the instructions at the link above and keep them in mind as you are scouting for the very best spot in your field. Even if you don’t have your spot(s) picked out, you can still enter early!
Work is now underway to renovate our current office at 38 4th Avenue N.E. in Carman, with completion expected in about five months. The good news is that for the next five months, you won’t have to look far to find us.
For the duration of the renovation, our staff will be operating out of the building directly south of our main office at 40 2nd Street N.E.
Directions from our main office to our temporary office location.
Our temporary office, located at 40 2nd Street N.E.
Renovations to our existing office were necessary because the space no longer meets the evolving needs of our organization. The building was built more than 20 years ago to house one of our founding organizations, the Manitoba Corn Growers Association, and no substantial renovations have been made since.
These renovations will create significant benefits for our farmer members and staff, including:
Improved office functionality, as the space was originally designed around the needs of multiple organizations.
An upgraded boardroom, providing a professional environment for meetings and other formal gatherings of staff, farmer members and industry stakeholders.
Greater privacy for our cash advance program clients who visit the office.
If you have questions about the renovation or our temporary office location, please contact us.
The Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster (ICAC) was designed to put focus on a whole-farm approach, it addresses critical gaps in research for farm management as a whole and does not put focus on one crop type or approach. There are seven research activities within the cluster, MCA participates in all research activities as they all bring valuable information to Manitoba producers. Each activity and a brief description are listed below, for more information, view the Integrated Crop Agronomy Cluster Summary 2018-2023.
Co-ordinated monitoring of field crop insect pests in the Prairies Ecosystem
Funds the activities to continue to provide timely information about crop diseases and highlight effective disease management approaches.
Developing a risk model to mitigate Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in western Canadian cereal production.
Provides funds to develop a FHB risk map model that is based on data taken across the Prairies and takes into account over 500 weather stations to produce a user-friendly, online risk-mapping tool.
Management of glyphosate-resistant kochia in western Canadian cropping systems
Studied the effect of several different non-chemical ways to manage kochia, including crop rotation, row spacing, seeding rates and harvest timing.
Spray drift management under changing operational requirements
Studied how the machinery plays a role in creating spray drift.
This included quantifying drift as a function of travel speed, spray quality and boom movement.
Optimizing systems productivity, resilience and sustainability in the major Canadian ecozones
With increasing evidence that supports the benefits of diversifying crop rotations to ensure long-term sustainability, this project studied several different crop rotations at eight sites across the Prairies to determine the impact of different rotations on productivity, resilience and sustainability.
Economic and agronomic performance of emerging cropping systems for Western Canada
Looks at including soybean and/or corn in crop rotations in Western Canada (regions where this is not a traditional crop included in rotations) and the economic, agronomic and environmental impacts this will have.
We are seeking a permanent, full-time Agronomy Extension Specialist – Cereal Crops to join our dynamic team and serve our farmer members who grow high-quality wheat and barley in the province of Manitoba.
The Agronomy Extension Specialist – Cereal Crops is responsible for the development, co-ordination and extension of wheat (spring and winter) and barley agronomic information and research results to MCA farmer members under the supervision of the chief executive officer.
This role requires a highly motivated individual with a passion for agriculture, strong communication skills and a positive, team-oriented attitude.
Click here to view the full job posting – including duties and responsibilities, desired qualifications and experience, and working conditions of the position.
To apply, please forward a resume and letter of interest by e-mail to email@example.com. Application deadline is 4:30 p.m. CDT on June 6, 2023.
Consumers play an important role in agriculture, and finding new ways to reach this audience is important.
With that goal in mind, the first ever “Wheat Retreat” brought about 30 influencers in the food and nutrition world together to explore all things wheat – nutrition, functionality and sustainability.
The Wheat Retreat was hosted by the Canadian Wheat Nutrition Initiative, aka What About Wheat?, at Cereals Canada’s world-class facilities in Winnipeg on April 27-30, 2023.
Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) supports market development initiatives that provide value to our farmer members, so we sent Mallorie Lewarne, our former agronomy extension specialist – cereal crops, to add some perspective on farming in Manitoba.
The retreat included a tour of Cereals Canada’s technical facilities, a pasta sensory session, a hands-on sourdough workshop, a bannock making session and discussions about wheat farming.
“Everyone who attended had great questions – including plenty about agriculture. They asked lots about general farming practices, pesticide use, the wheat class system and more,” says Lewarne.
“These influencers are much more public facing than the typical farmer or agronomist. I think this was a great opportunity to connect and provide them with accurate information they can share with the general public.”
Sheila Elder, a delegate on our wheat and barley crop committee, and her husband Jeff attended one day of the retreat and gave a presentation that took attendees through a growing season as a farmer.
They talked about seeding, scouting, spraying and harvesting, while focusing on technological advances that allow them to be more profitable and sustainable.
“I think there is often a disconnect between the farmer and the consumer,” says Lewarne. “Any opportunity we get to share accurate information about farming practices in Canada is invaluable, and these small opportunities can add up to make a large impact on that disconnect.”
What About Wheat? is a platform for nutrition professionals to find the latest science-based information on wheat to share with their clients and consumers. The information is vetted by a Scientific Advisory Council made up of researchers and registered dietitians.
Member organizations include Cereals Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Alberta Wheat Commission, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Canadian National Millers Association.
As a member of the Grain Growers of Canada (GGC), Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) participated in National Grain Week March 27-29 in Ottawa, which included nearly 20 meetings and roundtable discussions with MPs and senators.
Attendees included Agriculture Marie-Claude Bibeau, MP Brian May, MP Marie LaLonde, MP Blaine Calkins, MP Chandra Arya, Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay, MP Ted Falk, Senator Paula Simons, MP Yves Parton, MP Alistair MacGregor and MP John Barlow.
Sally Parsonage, a delegate on MCA’s sunflower crop committee, and Jonothan Hodson, MCA vice-chair and corn committee delegate, represented MCA at this year’s event. Hodson was a returning participant, while Parsonage was attending for the first time.
During the opening reception, MP Francis Drouin, parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture, addressed attendees. The next day participants attended an overview of key highlights from the 2023 budget and witnessed the historic passage of Bill C-234, an Act to Amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act.
“Before the last election in 2021, I was fortunate enough to be a presenter to the Standing Committee on Agriculture on Bill C-206, which was trying to accomplish the same changes as C-234,” Hodson says. “That bill was lost when the election was called. It was personally rewarding to be in Ottawa when C-234 passed this time around.”
Both Parsonage and Hodson spent much of their time in Ottawa talking about current issues facing farmers and supporting GGC’s preliminary snapshot of the Roadmap to 2050 report, which emphasized the significance of trade, transportation and innovation.
“Broadly speaking, most of my conversations with government officials involved various aspects of the roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050,” Hodson says.
“I talked a lot about the effects of innovation on the farm level, using the past to demonstrate the value of government and farmer investments in various forms of innovation, and looking to the future return on further investments.”
The importance of science-based policy was communicated repeatedly.
“In order to achieve environmental goals, farmers need access to innovative varieties, practices and tools, not mandated targets,” Parsonage says.
“Forcing Canadian grain farmers to adopt practices that are less productive may lower Canadian emissions, but the shortfall in production will be made up by other regions that may have less stringent environmental requirements.”
Parsonage adds Grain Week was an important chance for farmers to have direct contact with decision makers from across the country.
“I found they were genuinely interested to learn directly from farmers about the issues we face, but in some cases have had very little opportunity to do so,” she says. “While it’s tempting to be cynical about the political process, we will only limit our industry if we don’t make these opportunities happen for ourselves.”
Experiencing firsthand the disconnect many people involved in the political process have from agriculture was a concern for Parsonage. But on a positive note, she says, most people she spoke with were curious and open to learning more.
“Explaining the on-farm cost and benefits of adopting cutting edge equipment – like retrofitting a sprayer with sensors to spot spray weeds, for example – helped bring some perspective to our conversations.”
This year was a reminder for Hodson that sometimes when these decisions are made a long way from the farm, how they will impact the farm is not taken into consideration.
“Sally’s focus on sunflowers, a smaller acreage crop, was well received. She was able to relate real world consequences (of policy decisions) on a crop that is not widely known in all ag circles in Canada, but is an important option in Manitoba,” he says.”
“That was a reminder for me how important it is for farmers to explain how these decisions and consequences can affect their operation.”
At the end of the day, both Parsonage and Hodson saw National Grain Week as a valuable opportunity to share their lived experience and send an important message on behalf of the Canadian agriculture industry.
“As farmers, we have to make sure we are speaking up for ourselves to the people who are responsible for making the decisions that are going to affect our next five, 10, 50 years,” Parsonage says. “Talking to each other only goes so far, we have to be proactive to get our message out to the public instead of waiting to react.”
Hodson adds that “as farmers in Canada, we need to remember, we produce grain on some of the most sustainable farms in the world and we have never been afraid of change. Never be afraid to tell your story and to be proud of your accomplishments.”
The Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC) is responsible for setting standards (merit), evaluating and recommending grain crop candidate varieties for registration in Western Canada. There are four independent recommending committees:
Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale (PRCWRT)
Prairie Recommending Committee for Oat and Barley (PRCOB)
Prairie Recommending Committee for Pulse and Special Crops (PRCPSC)
Prairie Recommending Committee for Oilseeds (PRCO)
The committees are comprised of representatives from the entire value, including variety/trait developers, farmers, commodity organizations, seed industry representatives, grain companies and end users.
In March, the PGDC held their annual meetings in person for the first time since 2019. Two staff and four crop committee delegates from Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) attended the meetings in Banff, AB.
“It’s extremely important to be involved in the decision-making process,” says Rauri Qually, a farmer from Dacotah, MB, and delegate on MCA’s wheat and barley crop committee.
“Farmers are a key part of the industry. We grow and sustain these varieties, whether developed privately or publicly. It is important for breeders, seed growers, merchants and industry officials to understand our perspective in real world cropping situations. This feedback is essential.”
Nick Matheson, an MCA director and flax committee delegate from Stonewall, MB, agrees that farmer feedback is extremely valuable in this arena.
“Farmers are the actual boots on the ground growing the commodity,” he says. “I think it’s very important to have farmer perspective at these meetings because the varieties need to meet the needs of farmers.”
Mallorie Lewarne, MCA’s agronomy extension specialist for cereal crops, adds that the PGDC is a great opportunity for farmers to directly interact with the scientific community and highlight the issues that are most prevalent on their farms.
“It is at these meetings we get to know the attributes of varieties coming forward for commercialization,” says Lori-Ann Kaminski, research program manager for cereal crops at MCA.
“We are judging upcoming lines against ‘merit criteria’ that we set. Farmers at this meeting can have a voice (vote) on any changes to those merit characteristics and get a look at how prospective lines stack up in field trials over two or three years, depending on crop type, at multiple Prairie locations.”
MCA also invests directly in the delivery of field-ready barley, flax and wheat varieties from Western Canada’s public breeding programs at the University of Manitoba, the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, the University of Alberta and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Western wheat and barley commissions formed the Canadian Wheat Research Coalition and the Canadian Barley Research Coalition to facilitate this collaborative approach to farmer funding of regional and national research projects in variety development and agronomy, including Core Breeding Agreements, the Canadian National Wheat Cluster and the Canadian National Barley Cluster.
Through these investments, Kaminski says, the “entire value chain is working together to build Canada’s reputation for quality and consistency.”
For Qually, Canada’s reputation around the world of producing the finest quality grains and oilseeds is key to the success of our industry at home.
“The variety registration system allows the industry and whole value chain to work together and decide what lines will be best, while maintaining our status of quality throughout the world,” he says. “It also allows the breeders to listen to the rest of the industry’s concerns and suggestions for making our grain and oilseed varieties all they can be.”
After attending the PRCWRT agronomy evaluation team meeting and annual meeting, Ryan Hueging, an MCA director and wheat and barley committee delegate from Woodlands, MB, says he is confident he will have access to new varieties that will improve profitability on his farm, and that these varieties will contain the quality buyers are looking for.
The variety registration system provides important information (the merit criteria) for farmers, such as disease ratings, agronomy characteristics and quality. This information also goes into Seed Manitoba.
“Farmers can evaluate risks specific to their area and decide on varieties to plant,” says Sheila Elder, a farmer from Wawanesa, MB, and chair of MCA’s wheat and barley crop committee.
“For example, in areas with fewer ‘growing degree days’ a shorter-season crop can be considered; for areas with risk of Fusarium head blight (FHB), a more resistant variety can be chosen; and if a farmer wants to grow a crop that has a higher risk of lodging, an appropriate growth regulator could be considered.”
When asked to share one takeaway from the meetings, there was general consensus recognizing all of the hard work and dedication that goes into developing varieties, as well as the organization, time and skills that go into gathering a large, diverse group together to decide on which lines to advance.
“My one takeaway would be that there is a lot of hard work and dedication put into creating varieties that are progressively improving,” says Hueging. “That comes from a very good collaborative effort to get all members of each specific segment of our industry to share their knowledge.”
Lewarne says she always leaves the PGDC meetings with an immense respect for the plant breeders, as well as the geneticists, pathologists and everybody else who works alongside them.
“Canada has a reputation for its high-quality wheat, and the breeders work tirelessly to maintain or exceed those standards for our customers around the world, while also taking farmers’ needs into consideration,” she says. “It seems like the target is constantly moving, but our Canadian breeders show up each year with new lines that improve on disease, agronomy and quality characteristics.”
MCA staff and farmers at PGDC meetings in Banff, March 2023. From left Rauri Qually, Ryan Hueging (back), Mallorie Lewarne, Lori-Ann Kaminski, Nick Matheson (back) and Sheila Elder.
What happened at Banff in 2023?
Wheat, Rye and Triticale – 12 CWRS, two CWAD, four CPSR, one CWSWS, one rye, one spring triticale, and two winter triticale lines brought forward. Breeders are always working to meet or exceed merit criteria, so a lot of culling happens before lines are brought forward at the committee meetings. All but three were supported for registration (two CWRS and one CPSR). Over the last few years, the committee has been assessing which newer varieties should be used as our standards or checks. New FHB checks are to be implemented in 2024 because current intermediate checks are looking more moderately susceptible, especially for durum. Hoping to do some post-registration testing to update Seed Manitoba.
Barley – 12 lines brought forward (three general purpose, seven malt and two food) and 10 were supported for registration. Both lines not supported were proposed as malting varieties.
Flax – There were no new varieties brought forward this year, as upcoming lines are still in the data-gathering stages.
What happens next?
The recommendations from PGDC go forward to the Canadian Grain Commission for assignment of market class and the Variety Registration Office of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for registration. At the same time, breeding institutions and companies are making decisions about commercialization.
If you are interested in learning more about the PGDC, please reach out to MCA staff, directors or crop committee delegates, or visit pgdc.ca.
Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) is proud to support students who are studying to work in the agriculture industry. MCA’s bursary program is designed to assist with the financial needs of students who are enrolled in a post-secondary agricultural program within the province of Manitoba.
Six students from Manitoba have been awarded with MCA 2022-23 bursaries valued at $2,000 each. The 2022-23 bursary recipients are Kaitlyn Christine Hunt-Delaurier from Laurier, Lianne Rouire from Treherne, Milan Lukes from Gunton, Stephanie Manning from Souris, Hannie Peters from Ile Des Chenes, and Alison Manness from La Salle/Domain.
“I would like to congratulate all our 2022-23 bursary winners and thank all the students who applied,” says MCA Chair Robert Misko. “It is clear from the quality of all the bursary applications we received that the future of the agriculture industry in Manitoba is bright.”
Bursary applicants needed to meet the following criteria:
Have completed their first or second year of post-secondary education at the college or university level (diploma or degree) and are enrolled full-time for the 2022-23 school year in an agricultural program within the province of Manitoba.
Have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
Have an interest in wheat (spring or winter), corn, barley, flax or sunflower crops, or agriculture in general, as demonstrated in a brief, one-page letter.
Are from a farm that is a member in good-standing of MCA.
Have not previously been awarded an MCA Bursary.
An independent selection committee was contracted to evaluate the applicants based on their connection to or interest in agriculture, explanation of why they decided to enroll in an agriculture-related post-secondary program, how they hope to benefit the agriculture industry once they have graduated and are in the workforce, and their academics and writing skills.
This year, the selection committee included James Frey, applied production specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, and Rachel Evans, technical sales manager at FMC Canada for Manitoba and southern Saskatchewan.
Frey leads a small-plot research program in co-operation with Parkland Crop Diversification Foundation in Roblin, MB. He holds a B.Sc. in agribusiness and a master’s degree in natural resources management from the University of Manitoba. Prior to his current role, he worked with agricultural development projects in Northeast Asia.
Evans is an agronomist with 10 years of experience providing agronomic advice, research co-ordination and project leadership. She holds a master’s degree in plant science from the University of Manitoba, in addition to being a Certified Crop Advisor and member of the Manitoba Institute of Agrologists.
Thank you to the selection committee for evaluating the bursary applications and congratulations to the 2022-23 bursary recipients!
Manitoba Crop Alliance entered into funding agreements for several new research projects in the 2021-22 fiscal year. Download the file below to have a closer look at each of the new projects and the funding details.
The 2022 nomination period for delegates positions on our four crop committees took place from Sept. 1 – Oct. 30, 2022.
In total, 17 farmer members were nominated for 17 available delegate positions across the four crop committees and were thereby elected by acclamation. Among those 17 delegates, seven are new to their respective committees.
Read on to learn more about the newest additions to our crop committees:
Doug Martin (East Selkirk, MB)
Doug Martin is a fourth-generation farmer, and co-owner and president of Martin Farms Ltd. Martin farms in partnership with his wife Laurie, as well as his cousin Gerry and his wife Kelly.
Together, they grow winter wheat, spring wheat, corn, soybeans, oats and canola, and run a sow farrow-to-wean operation.
Martin holds a bachelor of science in agriculture and a diploma in agriculture from the University of Manitoba. Before joining the corn crop committee, he was a delegate on MCA’s wheat and barley crop committee. He is also a past chair of Winter Cereals Manitoba, a board member on Western Grains Research Foundation, a district advisor for Manitoba Pork Council and a member of the advisory council for Keystone Agricultural Producers.
Martin believes the opportunities for corn are great, with varieties improving each year, and that the crop has a lot of potential to make Manitoba farms more profitable.
Riley Anderson (Morris, MB)
Riley Anderson is a sixth-generation grain farmer from Morris, MB. He farms together with his parents, Joe and Pat Anderson, and his sister, Kara. They grow corn, canola, soybeans, oats and wheat.
Anderson has been growing corn since 2012 and it is his favourite crop to grow. With all the local demand for corn in Manitoba, he believes the number of acres and farms growing it will increase in the future.
A few years ago, he heard a saying that has stuck with him and influenced his decision to join the corn committee: “Everything in agriculture is good for someone – it’s our job to make sure it’s good for the farmer.”
Darcy Unger (Stonewall, MB)
Darcy Unger grew up on the family farm, Unger Seed Farm Ltd., near Stonewall, MB. The family farm is over 90 years old, with the seed business beginning operations in the late 1960s.
Unger started farming full-time with his dad in 1994. They grow a diverse cropping rotation, including wheat, barley, oats, flax, peas, soybeans and canola. All crop types, aside from canola, are grown for seed production.
He is excited to see the next generation join the farm, as his oldest son has intentions of farming and is currently in his second year in the agriculture diploma program at the University of Manitoba.
Leigh Smith (Oak Lake, MB)
A sixth-generation farmer, Leigh Smith and his wife own and operate Gerlyn Acres Ltd., a mixed grain and cow-calf operation. They also have three kids who work and enjoy the benefits of farm life.
Their farm is a diverse grain, oilseed and forage seed operation. They are also seed growers, with an emphasis on flax, barley, soybeans and forage grass seed.
Smith has been growing flax for as long as he can remember and finds it to be a challenging but rewarding crop. He believes that flax presents many end-use opportunities and expanding flax acres would lead to even greater use.
He looks forward to the opportunity to serve on the committee and feels he has valuable experience to bring forward.
Darcy Watson (Rossendale, MB)
Darcy Watson grew up on the family farm near Rossendale, MB, where he now operates a mixed farm that includes a commercial cow/calf herd and grain production. He has been farming for more than 35 years and grows sunflowers, corn, edible beans, soybeans, wheat and oats. Watson and his wife Val have three sons – Parker farms full time and their two other sons help when they can.
Watson has been growing sunflowers on his farm for over two decades. He was one of a select number of growers for Spitz International for many years and took pride in knowing the product in their bag originated from mostly Manitoba farms.
Outside of the farm, Watson sits on the board of the Rossendale Community Centre.
Dave Van Buuren (Pipestone, MB)
Dave Van Buuren grew up on the family cattle and grain farm near Pipestone, MB. He received his agribusiness diploma from Assiniboine Community College in 2008. Prior to returning to the family farm in 2011, he worked in the agriculture industry for three years.
Van Buuren farms in partnership with his parents and two siblings. On their farm, they grow cereals, canola, corn and sunflowers, and run a commercial cow/calf operation and feedlot enterprise.
Van Buuren and his wife Jenna are proud parents to two boys, Jace and Layne. Last spring, he began a director term with the Valleyview Co-op. He is excited to bring his perspective as a grower to MCA’s sunflower crop committee.
Wheat and Barley
Scott Mowbray (Cartwright, MB)
Scott Mowbray is a fourth-generation farmer from Cartwright, MB, where he farms with his parents, wife and three young children. Their farm has employed zero-tillage for more than 12 years and they’ve started to experiment with regenerative agriculture techniques, including cover cropping, green seeding and intercropping.
Prior to coming home to the family farm, Mowbray spent 10 years working for Richardson Pioneer in several roles at various locations across Western Canada. Before joining Richardson Pioneer, he was enrolled in the agribusiness diploma program at Assiniboine Community College.
He has recently taken on a delegate role with Keystone Agricultural Producers and volunteers locally for a variety of community organizations, including as chairperson of the Cartwright Centennial Auditorium board of directors.
Mowbray is very excited to join the wheat and barley crop committee and looks forward to being a part of MCA, as it helps to safeguard the industry for future generations.
Brad Myskiw (Warren, MB)
Brad Myskiw is a fifth-generation farmer from Warren, MB. He and his wife, Cassidy, have two kids and operate a cash-crop grain farm, producing a wide array of crops, including corn, canola, soybeans, wheat, barley and oats.
Wheat and barley have long been staple crops in Myskiw’s rotation, and he looks forward to collaborating with the wheat and barley crop committee to further strengthen and improve wheat and barley production in the Manitoba rotation.