Pulse Beat Individual Articles

Message from Board Chair

“The glass is half full and the first half was delicious.”

Calvin Penner, Chair, MPSG – Fall/Winter (December) Pulse Beat 2021

It has been an interesting year for farmers, to say the very least. Soybean and pulse crop yields have been extremely variable across the province. I have heard reports from farmers ranging from two to 40-plus bushel-per-acre soybean yields. And all of these reports came from inside a 25-mile radius of my farm. There were farms that didn’t receive any rain all year to farms that got very timely rains in July, giving them excellent yields. Overall, though, my prediction is that average yields across Manitoba will be very low for the 2021 growing season.

Being the eternal optimists that farmers are, we are already planning for next year. It’s what we do — always looking forward.

There are many questions that will only be answered in the next year once we know what kinds of moisture/conditions we’re dealing with: where is the ideal location to plant pulses? How did the nitrogen carry over from the previous year? How much nitrogen is too much? Will excess nitrogen affect nodulation? Will excess nitrogen cause issues with iron chlorosis in soybeans? Am I throwing away nitrogen if I want to plant nitrogen-fixing crops on fields with higher than normal nitrogen levels? All of these are important bits of information that need to be considered in planning a crop rotation.

Fortunately, there is research being done to address many of these questions. Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) has researchers not only with answers that come straight from the laboratory but MPSG can also answer these questions by drawing from its vast small-plot and On-Farm Network research. This cumulative repository of many years of boots-on-the-ground and eyes-on-many-fields experience serves MPSG’s members well.

All of this data can be accessed on the MPSG website; manitobapulse.ca. If you need more information, feel free to contact a member of our research and production team. Some of this year’s data still needs to be collected and analyzed, but it will be posted to the MPSG website as it becomes available, so keep checking.

It is still uncertain how many in-person meetings we will be able to hold this winter, so stay tuned. Ag Days has been scheduled for January. CropConnect is planned for February, but the conference will have a smaller attendance limit than it has in the past.

As I write this, it’s Thanksgiving at my house. By the time you read this, I know that it will have come and gone, but I would still like to encourage you to take stock and be thankful for what you have and not dwell on what could have been. It is good to have an outlook of being thankful in life. A few years ago, while travelling in New Zealand, I saw a billboard, the words on which have resonated with me ever since: “The glass is half full and the first half was delicious.”

I also stopped in at an agricultural fair and picked up a business card that had an outline of a dog’s head on it and the lettering across the top said: “When Life’s a Bit*h — Down? Tired? Stressed? Anxious?” There were phone numbers for various helplines.

Mental health is an important issue worldwide, and farmers have been told to suck it up or tough it out by themselves. We don’t have to. There are people who can help. If you are suffering, don’t be ashamed and please reach to friends, family and groups like the Manitoba Farm, Rural & Northern Support Services (www.supportline.ca) for help.

Let’s look out for ourselves and our neighbours if we see that they are struggling.

Stay safe and try to keep perspective on what is truly important.

­— Calvin