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Seed Grower Costs To Go Up Slightly In 2011

Fee increases by the Canadian Seed Growers Association will push the cost of producing pedigreed seed in Canada slightly higher in 2011.

“We don’t like increasing fees any more than you like us increasing fees,” CSGA executive director Dale Adolphe told the Manitoba Seed Growers’ Associations’ (MSGA) annual meeting here Dec. 9. But he said fees assessed by the CSGA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) remain a small proportion of seed production costs.

At its annual meeting in July CSGA members voted to increase membership fees by $25 to $100 and raise the fee for pedigreed seed production by 12 cents an acre to 83 cents.

Seed growers who harvest an average- yielding pedigreed wheat seed crop, with 15 per cent cleanout, will pay about six cents a bushel to the CSGA in 2011, plus five cents to CFIA, three cents to the MSGA and between 88 cents to $1.15 a bushel for royalties and administration fees depending on the variety and seed distribution company, Adolphe said.

Canadian seed growers produced 1.1 million acres of pedigreed seed in 2010, down just over 38,000 acres from the year previous. Given the extremely wet conditions across much of the West, CSGA had expected a 100,000-acre drop, Adolphe said.

Adolphe said membership actually rose by 200 seed growers in 2010, adding he isn’t sure why. Seed grower membership was higher in every province except Saskatchewan.

Manitoba had 645 seed growers in 2010, up from 620 in 2009.

Pedigreed wheat production continues to dominate with 339,734 acres across Canada in 2010, down about 31,000 acres from the year before.

Soybeans are the next biggest pedigreed crop with 234,831 acres inspected in 2010, up almost 20,000 acres from 2009. Almost 40,000 of those acres were in Manitoba, not far behind Quebec’s 43,100 acres. Ontario produced 147,766 acres of pedigreed soybeans.

Manitoba seed growers produced almost 102,000 acres of pedigreed

ALLAN DAWSON

SEED SITUATION:Canadian seed growers grew 1.1 million acres of pedigreed seed in 2010, down 38,000 acres from the year previous, says Canadian Seed Growers’ Association executive director Dale Adolphe. However, the number of Canadian seed growers jumped by 200 to 3,543.

wheat, second only to Saskatchewan’s 119,600 acres.

Adolphe spoke about progress on some of the resolutions passed at the CSGA’s annual meeting. One called on the CSGA to lobby governments to fund more agricultural research. Most of the provincial and federal agriculture ministers have responded.

“Essentially they say the same thing,” he said. “They’re citing how much money they’re spending, as if there isn’t a problem. I think this could be a perennial resolution – that we continue to pound on government (about) the importance of public research programs.”

Dauphin-area seed grower Rod Fisher agrees.

“I think we should remind them (federal government) that we supported plant breeders’ rights on the condition that they were going to maintain their breeding program,” he said.

CSGA president Gerald Girodat said he agrees, but as Canadians age more federal funds are going into health care, he said.

“My personal take on this whole thing is I don’t get too excited about government putting more money into agriculture.”

Although Bill C-474 is considered all but dead, Roy Klym of the Saskatchewan Seed Growers Association said seed growers need to be prepared. C-474 is a private members’ bill that proposes the market impact of a new variety be assessed before the crop is registered.

“The legislation could be a huge restriction for variety registration in Canada and give variety developers a reason to move elsewhere,” he said.

“Knowing the way governments work it’s probably going to come around again,” he said. “I guess as an association it would be better to be ready ahead of time rather than wait for when it comes around again.”

The MSGA will continue to push for publicly funded plant breeding, association president Greg Riddell said. He also said MSGA will continue to support theManitoba Crop Evaluation Trials (MCVET) andSeed Manitoba,where the trial data is published.

“We feel that this needs to continue as is, as it is the model for how variety testing and a related seed publication that we see in MCVET, can serve growers when compared to other jurisdictions throughout the country.”

The MSGA lost $5,887 in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30. MSGA vice-president Ryan Murray said the association probably would have broken even had pedigreed seed not dropped, in part due to excessive moisture, during the growing season.

The MSGA expects to lose $2,155 in 2010-11. [email protected]

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Ithinkweshouldremind them(federalgovernment) thatwesupportedplant breeders’rightsonthe conditionthattheywere goingtomaintaintheir breedingprogram.”

– ROD FISHER

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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