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Shawn Cabak, Farm Report

The deadline to register to participate in the third annual Open Farm Day is April 30. This is an opportunity for Manitoba farmers to help tell their story and show how the agriculture industry has progressed. Farms play a role in the food production and processing industries, which makes agriculture an economic driver in this province. This year's Open farm Day is set for September 16.

Last year, more than 40 farms participated in Open Farm Day, attracting over 5,000 people. Farm sites can include fruit and vegetable producers along with crop and livestock farms. Agri-tourism, horticultural operations and agribusinesses related to farming are also invited to take part.

Farmers wishing to participate in Open Farm Day can call the Manitoba Agriculture, food and Rural Initiatives agri-tourism hotline at 204-821-5322.

Upcoming Farm Safety Net Deadlines

The 2012 AgriStability enrolment deadline is April 30, 2012. This is also the:

n Deadline for new participants to request a New Participant Package for 2012.

n Enrolment Notice deadline to indicate you do not want to participate for the program year (or 30 days from the date on your 2012 Enrolment Notice).

n Deadline to pay your 2012 fee without a penalty (or 30 days from the date on your 2012 Enrolment Notice).

Fees paid after this date will have a 20% penalty added. You must pay your 2012 AgriStability fee by Dec. 31, 2012 or you will be ineligible to participate in AgriStability for the 2012 program year.

AgriStability provides support when your farm experiences a large margin decline. You may be able to receive an AgriStability payment when your current year program margin falls below 85% of your reference margin . AgriStability is based on margins:

Program margin - your allowable income minus your allowable expenses in a given year, with adjustments for changes in receivables, payables and inventory. These adjustments are made based on information you submit on the AgriStability harmonized form.

Reference margin - your average program margin for three of the past five years (the lowest and highest margins are dropped from the calculation).

Should your production margin fall below 85% of your reference margin in a given year, you will receive a program payment.

The 2011 AgriInvest Application deadline without penalty is September 30, 2012.

AgriInvest helps farmers manage small income declines, and provides support for investments to mitigate risks or improve market income. Your AgriInvest account builds as you make annual deposits based on a percentage of your allowable Net Sales (ANS) and receive matching contributions from federal, provincial, and territorial governments.

After you submit a program year application, you will receive an AgriInvest Deposit Notice outlining the amount you can deposit into your account that is eligible for matching government contributions.

March heat wave was a one-in-500-year event

The rare March heat wave that stretched from south-eastern Saskatchewan across southern Canada all the way to the eastern seaboard has become replaced by cooler than normal temperatures. When temperatures peaked in March, most locations experienced all-time record highs for the month. Winnipeg broke eight records over a 10-day span. Looking back at both Winnipeg's and Brandon's temperature records over the past 100 years, we have only seen high temperatures greater than 20 degrees C on three occasions.

To explain temperature fluctuation most climatologists use a temperature range or what is known statistically as a standard deviation. Statistically, if a data set (such as temperature data) is evenly clustered around an average, we can use standard deviations to help explain just how far away from the average the data is. Mathematically, this means the odds of seeing these types of temperatures are around 0.01 per cent, or about one in 10,000 times. Converting this to years you would come out to about one in every 500 years.

Three factors caused the heat wave

Three different factors came together to bring about this early-spring heat wave. The first was the development of a large summer-like blocking ridge of high pressure over the eastern United States. This ridge of high pressure brought plenty of sunshine along with very warm temperatures. Across much of the U.S. Midwest, all-time record highs for March were smashed. The second factor was the lack of snow across both the Canadian and U.S. Plains. The low snow cover quickly melted, leaving open fields with little surface water. This meant more of the sun's energy went to warming the air instead of melting snow and evaporating water.

The final feature that helped bring the really warm weather was a strong area of low pressure that developed to the west. The counter-clockwise rotation around this strong low pulled up plenty of warm air from the southern states, allowing us to ditch our parkas and pull out the shorts. Climate change or not chances are pretty good (about 499 out of 500) the parka will come in handy again before too long.

For more information, contact the Portage MAFRI office at 239-3353.


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