Monthly Archives: June 2017

Producers are encouraged to make important calculation to maximize returns

HUMBOLDT – Saskatchewan crop producers are being encouraged to make an important calculation to ensure they are maximizing their returns this harvest season.

Joel McDonald, program manager of Agricultural Development Services at Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) in Humboldt, said knowing the rate of combine loss—the amount of crop that ends up on the ground after a pass—is key to making well thought out economic decisions about harvest.

“When you ask how much loss is acceptable, how many bushels per acre or what percentage of yield, there is no wrong amount,” said McDonald. “The error comes if you don’t know how much you’re losing or haven’t considered it.”

The problem is that checking for loss takes time and effort. “The best way to check for loss is to disengage the chopper and spreader to drop the residue in a windrow, and then drop or throw a loss pan under the combine while harvesting at a steady rate. Then, the operator or a helper needs to separate the dust, chaff and straw from the grain in the loss pan.”

The final step is to do a calculation to determine the bushels per acre, said McDonald. Multiplying the grain loss rate by total acres and commodity price could result in significant numbers. “It’s possible to lose over five bushels an acre so I recommend that you check for loss as you get into each crop each year. I’ve done these calculations and often the answer is a simple adjustment or slowing down.”

It is well documented that higher speeds result in higher loss, said McDonald, but going faster also means covering more acres per hour and fewer days to completion. Only by knowing the loss rate can a producer calculate, for example, whether it makes financial sense to slow down, recover more crop and invest that saving in an additional combine. “That’s where the economic decision comes in.”

McDonald said critical decisions about fleet operations are sometimes made by feel or tradition and not based on data. “A producer can make $20,000 from a good marketing decision but he could also make $20,000 from a good combining decision.”

Experts Share Practical Advice For Managing Cow-Calf Efficiencies At 19th Annual Field Day

HUMBOLDT, SK – Western Beef Development Centre (WBDC) is hosting Chip Hines, retired rancher, author and public speaker from Colorado at the 19th Annual Summer Field Day June 20 at Termuende Ranch, east of Lanigan, SK.

During Hines’ session, entitled “Managing for Efficiency”, he will share what he has learned during his 50-plus year career about the importance of working with nature when making marketing, genetic and grazing decisions in order to be efficient and profitable as a cow-calf producer.

“At Western Beef, we strive to research practices and technologies that are relevant and adoptable by producers in order for them to be competitive and profitable in the cow-calf sector.  Chip’s views on the importance of managing for efficiency, knowing costs and continuous learning are very much in-line with Western Beef’s, so it a pleasure to have him come to the Field Day and impart his wisdom,” says Kathy Larson, WBDC Economist.

The Field Day will also feature afternoon field tours and presentations from researchers and veterinarians from the University of Saskatchewan, Prairie Agriculture Machinery Institute, Western Beef Development Centre, Merck, Delta Genomics, and Watrous Animal Hospital. The day will conclude with a steak supper ($15 per plate), which is organized by a local Lighthorse 4-H Club. The complete agenda is enclosed.

“Each year we look forward to sharing current research findings and relevant industry information with producers. This year’s field tour will feature 15 minute talks from nine different presenters on topics ranging from parasites to parentage,” says Dr. Bart Lardner, Senior Research Scientist, WDBC.

In the past, WBDC Field Day events have attracted about 150 to 220 producers from across Western Canada who are interested in learning how they can improve their cow-calf management practices.

WBDC is transitioning to the Livestock Forage Centre of Excellence at the University of Saskatchewan, effective March 31, 2018. The WBDC has been operated for the past 12 years by Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI).

For more information about the Field Day and directions to the ranch, visit

The Western Beef Development Centre, a division of PAMI, is a leader in collaborative applied research for the beef and forage industries, identifying and communicating opportunities for profitable innovation. Its mission is to collaboratively link lab and land for the competitiveness and sustainability of the cow-calf industry in Saskatchewan.

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathy Larson | Email:  |  Mobile: 306-930-9354

SaskCanola and PAMI Celebrate 25 Years of Working Together

SaskCanola and PAMI Celebrate 25 Years of Working Together