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Federal support for swine research

The federal government has invested $200,000 into two Manitoba Pork Council research projects exploring improved health in swine barns and field studies of using swine manure in crop production.

The first investment of over $150,000 will test the effectiveness of an electrostatic space charge system (ESCS) to reduce and prevent the airborne transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), a highly infectious virus that costs the Canadian industry an estimated $130 million per year.

A second investment of over $57,000 will be used to conduct a comparative study of cropping systems to promote use of swine manure on Manitoba farms. The study is expected to help identify sustainable land management practices, which would also reduce waterway pollution and, in turn, help lessen the environmental impact of the province’s farming practices.

“These are potentially valuable projects for hog producers in Manitoba. As more farmers move into liquid-solid separation of manure, it is important to increase our understanding of how we can better utilize the resulting products in an environmentally sound manner,” said Karl Kynoch, chair of the Manitoba Pork Council.

These projects are being supported by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP), a five-year (2009–14), $163-million initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive.

More farms sign up for Open Farm Day

Fifty-four farms will open their gates September 16 in the third annual Open Farm Day.

That’s 10 more signed up to take part over 2011 which pleases organizers.

“We were hoping we’d get at least as many as last year,” said Russell-area MAFRI business development specialist Karen Walker-Tibble. About 4,500 visitors streamed through farm gates in 2011 to participating farms.

April 30 was the deadline for farm families to volunteer their farm for the event.

Most of the farms signed on are clustered around, or within about a one-hour drive from Winnipeg and Brandon. This year a farm near Dauphin growing hemp and a certified organic grain farm near Brandon are participating but it’s problematic for more grain farmers to take part due to the time of year, said Walker-Tibble.

Three community suppers are also planned in conjunction with the event including one to be held the day before in the Shell Valley near Asessippi Ski Hill, plus two others September 16 at Lower Fort Garry and the Steinbach Mennonite Museum.

Participating farms and more details on Open Farm Day will be released later this spring. The event was launched in 2010 as a way to connect more Manitobans with agriculture and build stronger links between themselves and regional farmers.

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