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Fusarium Head Blight: 6 Things You Need to Know about the Invisible Disease That's Infecting Western Cereal Crops


Written By: Amy Rederburg, Dec 04, 2017
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a crop infection that has traditionally been found in Manitoba. Over the past three years, it has begun to spread and is moving west through the prairies. According to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, FHB was found in 98 percent of wheat and 97 percent of durum samples in 2016 (Fusarium Management Guide).
 
The Flaman Grain Cleaning team travelled to Melfort, Saskatchewan to take part in a Fusarium Management workshop presented by NARF at the Canadian Ag Research Farm. Here are the top 6 things you need to know in order to manage the disease and get the most out of your fusarium-infected grain.
 
1. What’s so bad about fusarium head blight?
  
There are around 17 different strains of fusarium, but fusarium graminearum is the most common form of FHB that is causing downgrades growers' grain.
 
The fungus causes a by-product, which is known as vomitoxin (VOMI). DON is a particularly nasty type of VOMI that poisons grain. Once infected, only a certain percentage of VOMI in your grain is acceptable for animal consumption.
 
2. Once you see signs of fusarium head blight, it's too late.

If you don't know much about fusarium, you're not alone. Most producers aren't aware of the catastrophic damage an infection can do to their crop until it's too late.
 
Once you see traces of fusarium in your crop it will reduce your ability to sell the grain and affect the growth of new seedlings. In extreme cases fusarium will decimate an entire crop.
 
At the fusarium management workshop, the team learned there is no quick solution to eliminate fusarium from your grain. However there are ways to mitigate the damage so that you can make the most of your yield.
 
3. Three key areas of fusarium management on your farm.
 
Ron Knox from AAFC Swift Current studies the disease triangle of fusarium's complex cycle. He highlights three key areas of disease management:
  1. Host crop: Breed your grain for resistance, or select a less susceptible crop such as barley and oats.
  2. Pathogens: Fusarium sits in the soil waiting to attack.
  3. Environment: It spreads quickest during the flowering stage with a combination of warm wind and moist weather.

4. When is the best time to spray for fusarium head blight?
 
According to Stu Brandt from Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation, the best and most effective defence is to time your fungicide application to coincide with the heading stage of the plant.
 
Environmental factors that contribute to ideal spraying applications include:
  • Wind conditions
  • Droplet size
  • Row spacing
  • Ensuring more water volume
 
Prevention is difficult to guarantee. One idea is to stagger times for seeding, so that flowering doesn't happen all at once.
 
5. Managing fusarium head blight infections the right way.
 
Fusarium can't be prevented, it can only be managed. Rex Newkirk from the University of Saskatchewan says that accurate testing of the level of Vomitoxin (DON) is what should really matter the most to you, as a grower. 
 
Andrew Taylor started specializing in removing VOMI from fusarium-infected crops at the end of 2016. He says, "The BoMill does its job. It's an interesting machine to run. It's loud, but it works."
 
He says he plans to pass on the advice about disease management to his customers, "I heard a few things about fungicide application being effective, you've got to get good coverage of kernels, and be aware of wet weather."
 
Once your grain crop has been infected a crop rotation that includes mostly pulse crops is recommended for four to five years according to Gurcharn Brar, a biology researcher of FHB at the University of Saskatchewan.
 
6. Flaman Grain Cleaning can help you sort fusarium head blight out of your crop.

Fusarium head blight is a broad disease and should be cleaned in the proper manner to give you the best results. Once you have analyzed a sample of your grain with vomitoxin testing equipment, you will have an economic decision to make. Either you will decide to clean it, dump it, or sell it as feed depending on the percentage of good quality kernels left behind.
 
Mitch Flaman, part of the Grain Cleaning division, says there are two ways to upgrade fusarium infected crops:
  1. Visually sorting fusarium damaged kernels (FDK) by the physical characteristics to a predetermined percentage (usually under 5%).
  2. Internally sorting (via NIT infrared) vomitoxin (DON) to less than 2 parts per million (PPM).
  
Once you know how fusarium head blight has affected your crop, Flaman's Grain Cleaning division can help you separate the infected kernels to recover the quality grain and save a percentage of your yield. They have several machines capable of cleaning fusarium and DON management including the ISM 40, BoMill Lab iQ, and FMS-2000.
 
Taylor found that every crop is different when using the BoMill to clean grain for his customers. He says, "Some go from four PPM VOMI to under two PPM, and some that start at three PPM won't drop at all. It just depends on how hard the crop was hit."

 
 
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Posted in Farm related news | More articles by Amy Rederburg

Fusarium Field Day


Written By: April, Flaman MarketingJul 21, 2017
We’re going on a Field Trip! On Tuesday, July 25th 2017, we’re off to Melfort Research Farms, located 1.6 miles south of Melfort, Sk on Hwy 6. They are putting on a morning event all about Fusarium Head Blight. With two industry experts to walk you through all the activities and information, the day is scheduled to start at 9AM and topics include:
  • Fusarium Head Blight Biology
  • Effects of FHB on Cereal Crops
  • Optimal Application Technology
  • How to Improve Grade Out of the Field
PLUS! Bring your Grain Samples and have it cleaned and tested! If you have a sample of grain (minimum two, 5 Gallon pails) bring it and have it tested for vomi-levels before, cleaned, and tested after so you can see in live action how you are able to Improve the Grade of your grain this harvest. Machines will be on site complete with staff to operate them and explain how it works.

Everyone is welcome and it’s completely FREE! Pre-registration is requested to ensure enough chairs and space is made available. Just click here to send in your name, email, and how many people are attending (don’t forget to count yourself).
In addition to Tuesday’s Fusarium day, Melfort Research Farms is hosting a second Field day the following day, Wednesday July 26th 2017. You can use the same registration link to sign up for Tuesday, Wednesday, or both days.

See you there!
 
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Posted in Technology | Tagged with fusarium head blight melfort research farms FDK information vomi-toxin vomi level testing grain cleaning fusarium | More articles by April

Demand Grows for Vomitoxin Cleaning Services - excerpt


Written By: MIchelle Corry, Flaman MarketingApr 11, 2017
Below is an excerpt from "Demand Grows for Vomitoxin Cleaning Services" by Brian Cross of the Western Producer. For the full article visit the Western Producer Online

With fusarium graminearum and its toxic vomitoxin sidekick deoxynivalenol (DON) stealing potentially hundreds of millions of dollars a year from Canadian farm revenues, the thought of paying toll processors to clean up commercial grain deliveries is gaining momentum.

Mitch Flaman, operations manager with Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling, said a lot of growers mistakenly assume that a sample with little or no FDK should easily meet industry standards or contract specs for vomitoxin. However, removing FDK does not guarantee that vomitoxin levels are also being lowered. Flaman said it’s critically important to know what you have in your bin and what you’re trying to remove from a sample.

“Early in the season, a lot of guys were getting away with selling their grain based on visual parameters only,” said Flaman, who sells a variety of grain cleaners, including colour sorters, gravity tables and highly specialized machines that sort grain using near infrared transmittance.“ In other words, if you could clean up your grain visually, there were some elevators that were buying based on visual grades only,” he said. “But what we started to find out later was that some stuff that looked very good visually still had very high levels of vomitoxin. So toward the end of the year, it seemed like almost every elevator started to price grain based on vomitoxin.”

The task of buying and selling grain can become a bit murky when FDK and vomitoxin are involved. In part, that’s because FDK is recognized in Canada as a visual grading determinant, while vomitoxin is not. However, vomitoxin is often mentioned in delivery contracts as a quality or contract spec, meaning high levels can significantly affect the value of grain being sold, regardless of how good the delivery looks. In some cases, farmers who cleaned up their samples to remove FDK were surprised to learn that they were facing substantial price discounts because vomitoxin levels were still above spec, Flaman said. “Understanding the difference between visual FDK and internal kernel toxicity (DON) has kept the industry busy with this year’s epidemic.”

“In the last few weeks, I’ve had more interest, more inquiries from people that are interested in (cleaning grain), than I could possibly handle in an entire year,” said Jason Basset, a grain farmer from Bruno, Sask., who also runs a grain cleaning company called Peterson Grain Processing. Basset is currently waiting to take delivery of a BoMill TriQ, a Swedish built grain cleaner that uses near infrared transmittance to remove vomitoxin. Unlike colour sorters that use near infrared reflectance to assess the external surface of a seed, the TriQ uses light to penetrate the seed coat. This allows the machine to assess a seed’s internal chemical composition. The TriQ has the ability to analyze each seed individually and sort seeds based on vomitoxin levels. Basset plans to use his machine to remove vomitoxin from malting barley. Vomitoxin specs for malting barley are typically.5 to one p.p.m. In one barley sample that Basset had analyzed, the TriQ removed 18 percent of the most heavily infected kernels and reduced total vomitoxin levels from two p.p.m. or higher to .5 p.p.m. or lower. In that scenario, a 10,000 bushel bin of barley that would otherwise be rejected by maltsters and sold as feed could potentially be cleaned and sold as 8,200 bu. of malt.

For the full article visit the Western Producer Online

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Posted in Farm related news | Tagged with grain cleaning Bomill Vomitoxin Fusarium | More articles by MIchelle Corry

Kenaston, Sk Has New Grain Cleaning Technology


Written By: April Basset, Marketing CoordinatorFeb 03, 2017
Spectrum Grain Solutions, located in Bashaw, Alberta, has purchased a BoMill TriQ grain sorter that has been installed in Kenaston, Sk. The Swedish-made BoMill TriQ has the capabilities to sort grain based on the interior make-up of each kernel, rather than the exterior appearance. It uses NIT (Near Infrared Transmission) technology to analyze each kernel and thus can sort grain based on fusarium, protein, vitreousness, seed quality and falling number at a speed of 25,000 kernels per second.
For a full article click here.
 
Learn more about the new technology in BoMill products on our Flaman Grain Cleaning website.
 
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with BoMill Grain Sorting Grain Cleaning New technology Flaman Grain Cleaning | More articles by April Basset

Seeded crop areas 2000-2016 charts


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 30, 2016
I have downloaded data from Statistics Canada and created charts (below) for acres seeded to give some historical perspective.  The first is for major crops in Saskatchewan only, the 2nd and 3rd are for AB SK and MB, with the first being major crops and the 2nd being secondary crops.






 
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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with seeded area crops prairies | More articles by Eric Anderson

Fertilizer prices to drop a bit more - time to buy a big bin and fill it


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 29, 2016
Fertilizer prices will likely decline in the short-term then grow in the long term.  So ‘yes,’ buying a big bin now and filling it makes sense.

First of all, what proof of a price decline is there?  The downtrend is highlighted by a recent potash sale to India by Belarus (one of the very few potash producers) at the lowest prices seen in over a decade; about a third less than last year’s level as global supplies of the crop nutrient exceed demand.

About the deal - one of India’s biggest fertilizer importers, Indian Potash Ltd. (IPL), will buy 700,000 tonnes of potash at $227 (U.S.) per tonne on a cost and freight (CFR) basis.

Belarus’ contract price is likely to become the benchmark for other suppliers to India, such as Russia’s Uralkali and North American trading group Canpotex Ltd., owned by Potash Corp, Mosaic, and Agrium.

For background see this story.

The underlying thing from this is, China usually sets the floor or lowest global price for potash with their purchasing, so given the bigger annual’ish China deal is still outstanding, prices will likely decline even further.

India and China, the world’s biggest fertilizer consumers, usually sign contracts earlier in the year. This year, deals were delayed as high stocks held by farmers meant there was no rush to agree a deal.

India’s deal is a rare instance of the country signing a potash supply contract with a major producer before China.  For more information, see this story.

But then, on the upside, Belarus and Uralkali (the Russians) are looking at working together again on potash marketing , thus ending the price war that has driven down the price of potash.  These two and Canpotex (PotashCorp, Agrium, and Mosaic) basically dominate the world potash market.

And, the major trend to drive fertilizer prices in the long term is that the world is adding about 1-million people per week to its population.  We need to feed this additional million per week from the same amount of farmland – so, fertilizer demand will grow.

Now, currently, crop prices are growing faster than fertilizer costs, so things do make sense to buy now.


To take advantage of the temporarily low fertilizer prices, a Meridian fertilizer bin is your best choice. 
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted in Ag news | Tagged with fertilizer meridian bin fertilizer prices | More articles by Eric Anderson

Prepare for that great crop - storage and cleaning


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 28, 2016
With everybody forecasting a great crop, are you prepared to harvest it? 

Are the combine(s) fast enough? Are there enough trucks ready to move the grain to a bin or bagging area?  Maybe the ground is wet, so is a grain cart ready to move the grain off the field towards a truck, bin, or bagging area?  Is the bagger ready with enough bags? Are the transfers, augers or conveyors able to quickly unload the grain and move it, which allows for the combine to keep moving without having to wait for unloading?

And once it's off, if you didn’t catch the fusarium with spraying, well it’s not too late.  You can use (1) a gravity table to separate the lighter infected kernels – the current best option for farmers, (2) a colour sorter/separator to pull then visually infected kernels – maybe not as good as a gravity table, or (3) a BoMill which is best used by end-users such as food processing facilities.”

Flaman Grain Cleaning and handling has all you need to get the crop into the bank.



 
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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with crop report auger conveyor grain handling | More articles by Eric Anderson

Protect that crop from fusarium


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 28, 2016
It seems everybody is forecasting a great crop this year!  Now, we can't control the weather, but we can protect the crop from things like fusarium, otherwise it's value will quickly decline.

With the recent warm and wet weather, the fusarium risk is growing in Saskatchewan and ongoing in Manitoba.  Today's risk maps reveal the situation:






So, here are some handy charts to help you assess the risk and plan your spray:






This spraying requires the safe and accurate handling of chemical, and Flaman has what you need to do this.
 
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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with fusarium crop assessment crop report | More articles by Eric Anderson

Great crops forecasted - at least twice


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 28, 2016
Today's crop assessment map demonstrates a crop developing at higher than normal rates and the complete opposite of last year's lower than normal rates (see below).  This confirms the need for a warning by APAS last week when, "The potential for this year's crop to be a record setting event has been confirmed by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).  In a recent press release, APAS issued notice to rail companies to be prepared for what could be a large crop this year.  You can see their actual press release here."

This year:


Last year:

 
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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with crop assessment crop condition protect fusarium | More articles by Eric Anderson

Is everybody ready for a potentially record setting crop?


Written By: Eric Anderson, Jun 23, 2016
The potential for this year's crop to be a record setting event has been confirmed by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS).  In a recent press release, APAS issued notice to rail companies to be prepared for what could be a large crop this year.  You can see their actual press release here.

APAS said it's anyone’s guess whether it will reach the record-setting levels farmers experienced in 2013 (38.4 million tonnes, according to Statistics Canada), but either way, APAS president Norm Hall wants rail companies to be ready.  “If you remember three years ago when we had the potential of a huge crop, and turned out to be the largest crop on record, the railroads used the excuse that oh, we didn’t know this was coming, we weren’t prepared for it,” explained Hall in an interview with News Talk Radio.

So, APAS is asking the railroads to be ready to handle the grain - but they are the end of the system - the system begins with farmers?

Are farmers ready to harvest the crop within the small window of opportunity presented by crop development and the weather.

Are the combine(s) fast enough? Are there enough trucks ready to move the grain to a bin or bagging area?  Maybe the ground is wet, so is a grain cart ready to move the grain off the field towards a truck, bin, or bagging area?  Is the bagger ready with enough bags? Are the transfers, augers or conveyors able to quickly unload the grain and move it, which allows for the combine to keep moving without having to wait for unloading?

And after moving the grain by rail, are the ports and ships ready?

APAS has put rail on notice, but what about the rest of the system?




 
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Posted in Crop reports | Tagged with harvest augers carts bins bagger | More articles by Eric Anderson

BoMill TriQ: A Fusarium Management Solution


Written By: April Basset, Mar 25, 2015

The newest technology being brought to the Canadian agriculture industry has benefits for everyone. BoMill, a Swedish company, offers a management solution to the fusarium problem that’s been a growing concern in Western Canada. The BoMill TriQ is a grain sorter that sorts wheat, durum, and barley by protein, vitreousness, and fusarium. Sheldon Ball, the sorter specialist at Flaman, says, “It’s the only product we’re aware of that sorts individual kernels by fusarium.” BoMill increases the accuracy of other processes by analyzing the chemical make-up of kernels, not just the colour, and it does it by individual kernel, instead of in a batch.

WHY BOTHER?
FUSARIUM
Fusarium is a fungus that produces mycotoxins during the infection process. Mycotoxins are toxic and are not destroyed during processing such as milling, baking, malting, or ethanol production.*  The BoMill TriQ grain quality sorter will sort the yields and improve the quality for a top selling dollar. More importantly, the sorted yield will be a safer product for final consumption.

VITREOUSNESS
The TriQ is also an excellent tool to clean grain for seed. Its patented technology (read about the NIT below) analyzes the ability a kernel has for germination, or its vitreousness. By setting a fraction to sort by vitreousness, you can get a yield that is 100% capable of germination. Talk about bumper crop potential!

HOW IT’S DONE – FEATURES OF THE BOMILL TRIQ
NIT Technology

NIT (Near Infrared Transmission) Technology is a patented sensory system that utilizes infrared light to test the chemical make up of a kernel. This new technology, found only in the BoMill IQ and TriQ products, allows kernels to be sorted according to their germination capabilities (vitreousness), fusarium, and protein content. This technology is capable of yielded a 100% vitreous output, which translates to guaranteed better yield if used for seed. It also means healthier product for consumption by people and animals.

Individual Kernel Analysis
Although other machines exist that focus on individual kernel sorting, such as color sorting, this is the first machine that sorts individual kernels by fusarium. Other methods will take a batch of grain and sort by weight, making heavier and lighter kernels separate to the top and bottom. This is a good method, however the individual kernel analysis yields a higher accuracy.

Wireless Monitoring
The graphical user interface makes it possible to control the sorting using any device with a browser, such as a PC, tablet, or smartphone. Due to its user-friendly design, it makes the training sessions intuitive and time efficient.

WHERE CAN YOU LEARN MORE?
Flaman Grain Cleaning is the licensed dealer in Canada for BoMill’s grain sorters. “With Flaman as our Distributor in Canada we will have a strong partner,” says Karin Wehlin, CEO BoMill AB. “Flaman’s long presence in the grain cleaning market and know-how as well as established service organization is important for our future”. You can contact one of Flaman’s staff members to get more information by email or by calling 1-888-435-2626. You can also visit the product page for the BoMill TriQ and IQ products.

*Website: http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/fusarium-head-blight
 

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Posted in New Products | Tagged with grain cleaning fusarium grain sorting bomill triQ wheat cleaning durum barley optical sorting | More articles by April Basset

Flaman is a Top 100 Small/Medium Employer!


Written By: Flaman, Marketing and Communications CoordinatorMar 19, 2015
If you haven’t already heard, Flaman Group of Companies (Flaman Sales) has been selected as one of the Top 100 SME (small to medium employers) in Canada. This is a big accomplishment to have our company recognized in this category as it is considered the most competitive one (80% of all applications fall into this category). Small to medium sized businesses make up 99% of all enterprises, and 90% of private employees are work for SME’s, so you can see how the competition gets thick.
 
The winners are chosen based on eight criteria points
 
-       Physical workplace
-       Work atmosphere and social
-       Health, financial and family benefits
-       Vacation and time off
-       Employee communications
-       Performance management
-       Training and skill development
-       Community involvement
 
Having worked for a few different companies in my lifetime, Flaman definitely stands out. Working here I feel like part of the family and not just a number. Winning this award, gives us a chance show the rest of Canada the kind of place Flaman is to work and be proud of the culture all of us help to create.
 

Read the official press release http://www.canadastop100.com/temp/sme2015.pdf 

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Posted in Local News | Tagged with top 100 eluta.ca SME proud Flaman Sales Flaman Group of Companies | More articles by Flaman

Harvest Time - Around the Corner


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Marketing and Sales, Grain CleaningAug 21, 2014
And once again, the most exciting time of the year is here, Harvest. Depending on where you are in the prairies, harvest happens at different times. Some folks in Northern Alberta (La Crete area) already have the combines in full swing and in other parts, producers are just greasing up the swathers for next week. Either way, if you haven’t quite gotten into the full swing of things, it’s just around the corner. I was on top of a bin just north of Edmonton last night when I looked into the field and it hit me; harvest is underway! The sun was shining and the swathers were rolling. Harvest is a time where we get to see our efforts pay off, providing we worked late enough to get it all in the ground, prayed hard enough for the right weather to get it to grow, and crossed our fingers long enough to dodge any hail and disease.
 
Now compared to last year, this was a bit of a weird year. There doesn’t appear to be bumper crops across the board like there was last year. Throughout my travels, I have seen and heard many producers say this is the best crop they’ve had in years, and many others state this is the worst luck they’ve had in years. Last year it really didn’t matter where you went, “this is the best crop I have ever seen” was a statement heard throughout the prairies. Given the cool temperatures and all the rain that occurred at the beginning of the year, crops were pushed back about two eeks from the average. Before we knew it, it seemed like July was already gone and minimal was happening. Extended periods of warm weather in the past couple of weeks have really helped the crops start to turn.  Keep your eyes and ears open in the next couple of days, but if you haven’t already started getting snap chats and pictures sent to you that say “it’s starting” or “we’re underway!” I can assure you, you will.
 
Happy Harvest

Mitch Flaman  

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Posted in Division News | Tagged with harvest last season weather | More articles by Mitch Flaman

Flaman named Top 100 Company


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing Project ManagerSep 27, 2013

Flaman Group of Companies is proud to announce that we have been named #49 on Saskatchewan’s Top 100 Companies List for 2013.

This list is published annually in Saskatchewan Business Magazine and looks at a company’s overall sales. The final rankings were revealed at a gala on September 4 and the full list is available in the September magazine edition. Saskatchewan Business Magazine is home to the original and official Top 100 Companies List for Saskatchewan. First published in 1984, the list remains the barometer of Saskatchewan’s top performing businesses. 
 
“The only reason we made the list is because of our customers,” said Don Flaman, president. “Thank you to all our customers for supporting us.”
 
The Top 100 List paints a positive picture for business in Saskatchewan. According to the magazine, revenues are up across the board and Saskatchewan is a “must be” destination for business, boasting major private firms along with the traditional co-ops or Crown corporations.
 
“Saskatchewan businesses have found their stride, a testament to the quality of owners and managers who have developed a unique skill set, learning to excel in a market best characterized by its sparse population and expansive landmass while roughly two thirds of its output is destined for a buyer outside our borders,” writes Paul Martin in the September issue of Saskatchewan Business Magazine.  

“This annual listing is as much a celebration of the past – of those who built an environment that attracts players from all corners of the planet – as it is a tribute to the new players who are helping to broaden and deepen our entrepreneurial pool.”

Saskatchewan Top 100 Companies award   

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Posted in Division News | Tagged with Flaman top 100 companies customer service awards | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Harvest Report: Crop progress and removing dockage


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Sales and MarketingSep 06, 2013

A few weeks ago when I started this blog entry, I was excited to report that agriculture equipment dealerships were approaching sold-out inventory levels and already delivering machinery to numerous producers province-wide. It was actually a bittersweet situation getting stuck on a secondary highway behind a semi hauling a combine for 16 miles with no option to pass. But, on the other hand, it was exciting to know that harvest was just around the corner. Needless to say, a few weeks later harvest is now in full swing and farmers are going hard.

To date, 14% of Saskchewan crops are combined and are experiencing above average yields (Sask Agriculture). “We haven’t seen crops like this in years,” one producer told me as he was gearing up to go swathing. “Let’s just hope the weather permits.” The 2013 crop season is looking to record bumper crops in many areas. One major worry for many producers is the fear of the dirty “F” word – frost. A late spring has consequently resulted in many crops province-wide maturing over a week late due to limiting seeding situations. This creates a vulnerable situation as the growing season is also extended by a week or more. On the plus side, we have been experiencing lots of hot and dry weather with no sign of frost in the near future. Fingers crossed, but if weather continues to cooperate there is going to be a province full of happy farmers with full bins.

As harvest is underway, producers are becoming more aware of volunteer varieties and other unwanted dockage in their crops. A windy harvest last year blew swaths all over fields and caused unwanted shelling of many commodities. Lots of these seeds germinated and grew into dockage this year. Flaman Grain Cleaning & Handling offers the answer to many of these situations, such as the Kwik Kleen grain cleaner. Whether you have volunteer flax in you oat crop or pesty Kochia growing in your wheat, the Kwik Kleen is designed to remove unwanted foreign material, as long as it can be sifted out.

Although the Kwik Kleen is not a “grain cleaner” in the sense that it is not designed to produce grain clean enough for seeding purposes, it can help clean out the bulk of smaller weed seeds from the larger sample. Kochia is a prime example of a weed seed that farmers would want to remove from their grain with a Kwik Kleen cleaner. Kochia’s high moisture content causes heating once it is mixed in a bin with other grains. This heating can ruin an entire bin full of grain, leaving it fairly useless to the farmer. The Kwik Kleen cleaner removes the Kochia from various grains like wheat, Durum, and other cereals by dropping it through a screen separation as it is augered through the Kwik Kleen before entering the bin.

I am pleased to say that in my opinion the future is looking bright for the 2013 crop year! Good luck to all the producers out there working from sunup to sundown and stay safe trying to get this year’s crop in the bin!

Happy Harvest
Mitch Flaman

 

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Posted in Product Information | Tagged with Grain Cleaning Harvest Kwik Kleen uses removing Kochia | More articles by Mitch Flaman

On the Road with Flaman Grain Cleaning


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Grain CleaningMay 27, 2013

Although we thought it would never come, it’s beginning to look a lot like summer on the prairies. The snow is finally gone and the drills seem to be making the last few laps as seeding is wrapping up in many areas. 

After what seemed to be an eternity, I’ve completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan and couldn’t be happier to get full swing into being a part of the team in the Grain Cleaning and Handling Division at Flaman Group of Companies. Although I have a lot to learn about the industry, I couldn’t be happier to get on the road and start building relationships with the customers we continue to serve and value.
 
Over the past few weeks, I have been on the road visiting various producers and processing facilities province-wide, trying to get a grasp of what is happening in the fields. It is evident that some areas are, without a doubt, feeling the effects of the large amount of snow Mother Nature dealt us this past winter. West of Saskatoon appears to be wetter than ever before. Many sloughs have turned into miniature lakes and some highways, specifically Highway 14, are even experiencing sections with water flowing over the road.
 
Other areas that didn’t get hit as hard with the snow, such as the southwest part of the province in Leader, are wrapping up seeding and hoping for some rain. It’ll be interesting to see the quality of the crops in the different regions as they start to sprout.
 
I’m especially looking forward to being part of a company concentrated on customer service and delivering relationship-focused results. Good luck in the up and coming growing season and I hope to see you around. Please check off June 19-21 on your calendars and swing by the Flaman booth at Canada’s Farm Progress Show in Regina to say hi!
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Posted in Division News | Tagged with grain cleaning seeding Flaman summer Farm Progress Show | More articles by Mitch Flaman

The secret behind cleaning grain with indent cylinder machines


Written By: Roy Ritchie, Grain Cleaning DivisionAug 22, 2012

The indent cylinder machine is designed primarily to separate grain by kernel length. It separates long kernels from shorter ones. The cylinder itself is a thin-walled tube with indents formed on the inside to the shape of a hemisphere. These indents are known as pockets.

By using indent pocket size, the kernels that fit into the pocket are lifted up and dropped into a trough that runs the entire length of the cylinder, while the longer kernels slide off and tail out the end. Indent pocket sizes are measured in 64ths of an inch similar to screen sizes used on screen machines. These cylinders are case hardened to give them a longer life span. Cylinders not hardened would wear out very quickly.

The cylinder always lifts up the shorter product that fits into the pocket and always tails off longer kernel; shorter from longer! A smaller pocket like a #13 will lift small weeds like buckwheat while tailing out wheat, while a larger pocket like a # 20 will lift wheat and tail out wild oats. Using combinations of different indent pocket sizes can do very fine separations of these products.

Indents use a combination of pocket size, centrifugal force, friction and gravity to make separations possible. By using different pocket sizes, particles of a certain size are able to be lifted off. The speed that the cylinder turns creates friction and centrifugal force that hold the particle in place. As the cylinder turns, that particle is lifted to a point where gravity takes over and allows the kernel to fall into a collection trough.

Speed of the cylinder is critical: too fast and the kernel is carried too far; too slow and gravity drops the product before reaching the collection trough.  Usually indent speeds are between 42 and 58 RPM. One or two RPMs can make a huge difference in separation and capacity.

The receiving trough catches and carries the lifted kernel to the end of the machine and discharges them into a spout. This trough is adjustable in order to make the cut or separation at the exact point of the particle size variation desired. The separation of the products usually happens between 60 and 45 degrees ahead of top dead centre.

Due to the fact that various seeds have different moisture, surface conditions, and specific gravity it is important to be able to hold the cylinder at a constant speed. Any fluctuations in speed will affect the actual trough adjustment and therefore the separations.

While feed flow and constant cylinder speed are critical, the unit is no better than the person running it. If you take time to understand the operation of the unit and allow a reasonable time after making adjustments you will find that the indent cylinder, regardless of make will do a good job for you. It will do this with minimal attention and service for a long period of time.

We at Flaman have several models and makes of indents available for sale. We are here to help.

This is one man’s opinion...

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with grain cleaning indent cylinder grain kernel Flaman grain sorting | More articles by Roy Ritchie

New to the Industry


Written By: Sheldon Ball, Grain CleaningMar 07, 2012

As a new employee at Flaman Sales, and a new resident to Saskatchewan, I’m excited to be starting a new career in the grain cleaning industry. With a background in the field of computer technology, I’m definitely starting from square one. Being new to the field is a little daunting, but I hope my “fresh” perspective can provide valuable insights and new ideas.

With the problem of ergot across the prairies over the last few years, there has been an ever increasing demand for efficient and effective grain cleaning. Ergot is a fungus which is toxic. It can cause infertility in humans and animals in fairly small doses and can cause a host of other health issues including death. Color sorters have been proven to be excellent tools to engage this problem with.
 
They are capable of removing almost all of the ergot from contaminated loads of grain. Since the tolerance level of ergot in the market (for wheat) ranges from about 0.04% to 0.01% depending on the spec, these machines are very necessary in sorting grain to a saleable product.
 
This is where I fit in. I have been hired as the new color sorter field technician. Basically, these machines are designed to separate “good” grain from “unwanted” grain. These machines are full of electronic, mechanical, and pneumatic components. The high flow machines are capable of sorting up to 25 tonnes of grain per hour. Flaman primarily sells two models; the Alphascan II and the Evolution. The Alphascan II is a monochromatic machine which is excellent for sorting high volumes of product with color differences in one light spectrum. These are the work horses for dealing with ergot. The Evolution is a full color sorting machine which is best utilized for sorting product with many different colored defects.
 
From what I’ve seen, both of these machines are phenomenal sorters and I’m excited to be a part of the industry which is providing better, cleaner products to the world’s markets. I’ll be traveling all over the prairies this year making sure these machines are in tip top shape and making their owners (our customers) money. I’m looking forward to meeting all existing customers and hopefully some new ones as well.
 
-Sheldon
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Posted in Division News | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot | More articles by Sheldon Ball

Operation of a Air Screen Grain Cleaner


Written By: Roy Ritchie, Grain Cleaning SalesJan 27, 2012

Operation of an Air and Screen

As the name implies, air screen machines use a combination of suction air that is drawn through the curtain of grain as it falls from the hopper onto a series of screens. The screens then size the product by width of the kernel, and a final air suction process is used.

With an air screen, the grain is fed onto the screens by either a vibrating feed system or by using a metered feed roll. In either case a feed gate controls the flow and an even flow is given to the machine. Making sure there is an even flow is critical to the quality of the job to be done.

As the grain falls from the feed system onto the screens, there is a process by which air is drawn through the curtain of grain. By doing so, light grain, chaff and dirt are drawn off the product before the grain touches the screens. The air mixed with dirt etc. is drawn into an expansion chamber where the chaff etc. separate and the heavy material is augured out. This process is the first thing that happens and it is also the last process as the grain leaves the machine. Increasing or decreasing the air volume allows the operator to decide how much product he wishes to remove.

Screens size the kernels by width. A system of screens removes any product that is wider than the kernel chosen [scalping], or narrower than the product chosen [sifting]. Screens are generally measured in 64ths of an inch, For example a 5.5 round would be a sifting screen for flax and would be 5 and ½ 64ths of an inch in diameter.

There are several types of screens available in perforated steel. Round hole, slotted hole, and triangular hole are the ones generally used for grain cleaning. There are also a variety of wire mesh screens available for special use. The type of grain dictates the type of screen.

We at Flaman have over 100 years of combined experience in screens, over 55 sizes of screen material in stock, and are dedicated to offering our customers top notch service.

This is one man’s point of view…

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling air screen grain cleaner sieve sift scalf | More articles by Roy Ritchie

Gearing up for another winter in Western Canada


Written By: Flaman Grain Cleaning, Grain Cleaning SalesDec 14, 2011

Another winter is among us! Combines are put away, fall work is done (we hope), and the cows are coming home. Here at Flaman we are looking forward to another grain cleaning season. I am really looking forward to getting on the road to see as many people as possible that are cleaning, or are thinking about cleaning their own grain. After an above average harvest in most areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta there is one thing on most people’s mind, Ergot. There was a number of ergot issues ranging from North Battleford all the way to Edmonton and as far south as Medicine Hat. This means busy times for Colour Sorters in Saskatchewan and Alberta. At Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling we are offering free colour sorter demos where you can bring in your own sample and watch the Satake Colour Sorter do its’ magic! The Western Canadian Crop Production Show is back in Saskatoon from January 9th – 12th, 2012. I will be making my way down the Yellowhead to Edmonton on January 11th – 13th, 2012 for the Alberta Seed Cleaning convention taking place at the Westin Hotel. This is a first time show for myself and I am very excited to see the people behind the Co-op Seed Cleaning Plants of Alberta. Christmas is coming fast so make sure to get that Christmas shopping done and have a very safe and happy holiday season!

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot Winter Saskatchewan Winder Alberta | More articles by Flaman Grain Cleaning

What is Ergot?


Written By: Roy Ritchie, Grain Cleaning SalesDec 12, 2011

Ergot is a type of fungus that grows on many grasses, rye, wheat, barley, and triticale.It infects the floret of the grass or cereal and mimics the process of pollinated grain growing on the plant. On ergot infected plants, a spore destroys the ovary, and then connects to the plant by attaching itself to the plant’s seed nutrition system. An infected floret can also infect other florets by insect dispersal of the asexual spores. That means that an insect can carry millions of the spores to other plants in the region. When mature ergot drops to the ground the fungus remains dormant until proper conditions trigger its fruiting phase, germinate and re-infest an area.

Ergot is toxic. Infestations in the grain can cause spontaneous abortions in people and animals, as well as some very unpleasant symptoms. It can cause irrational behavior, seizures, convulsions, unconsciousness, even death. This explains why there is almost zero tolerance for ergot in grain for sale. Much of the grain should not even be fed to animals. Point zero one [.01%] percent is all that is allowed for a #1 specification.

Ergot has infected a wide area in Saskatchewan and Alberta over the last few years. Some places have had the infestation 3 or more years in a row with various areas having ergot at 0.7% and higher. It is getting worse. My personal belief is that it is here to stay. Some years will be better than others but it will always be a market factor. Plant scientists don’t even have a straight answer to this problem. There is a wide difference of opinion. Maybe a prolonged dry spell will reduce the amount but as soon as it rains at the right time again we are back to ergot woes.

This is only one man’s opinion…
Next installment, how do we proceed? Colour Sorters vs. Gravity Tables.  

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged with Grain Cleaning and Handling Colour Sorter Ergot | More articles by Roy Ritchie

Saskatchewan Harvest Report


Written By: Flaman Grain Cleaning, Grain Cleaning SalesAug 22, 2011

Southern Saskatchewan 2011 harvest is under way! The combines are rolling through peas and lentils in most of the areas that I have seen. The crops are looking above average in most areas of the south, after a rainfall of 25 to 30 inches in the south last year it is not hard to compare the quality of this year’s crop. Pea acres seem to be down substantially this year compared to recent years, after seeing what the quality of the peas are this year, this may be a tough pill for some farmers to swallow especially if the price continues to rise. The lentil quality also looks very good this year, after the European’s declared no glyphosate on lentils I have seen a few more lentil acres being swathed this year. Canola is being swathed daily and more and more acres are down every day, the canola crop’s look very good in southern Saskatchewan this year, which is a different look this year due to the fact that you would not usually see so many canola acres in Southern Saskatchewan, But with last year’s chem.-fallow acres very high it set farmers up well for a large canola year. Wheat and durum are slowly behind in some spots I have seen; staging anywhere from seeing wheat being swathed to wheat that still needs 3-4 weeks frost free weather to avoid another feed wheat year. As long as we can keep that white combine away, I would say that the 2011 crop year will be a very successful year in most areas of the South that did not drown out in June.

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Posted in Division News | Tagged with saskatchewan harvest combine crops lentils peas southern | More articles by Flaman Grain Cleaning

Congratulations to our Flaman Grain Cleaning draw winners!


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Grain Cleaning DivisionFeb 16, 2011

The Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling Division would like to congratulate Blaine Cowan from Storthoaks Saskatchewan, as well as Jason & Sheila Marshall from Inglis Manitoba, on winning the Flaman Grain Cleaning 2011 draws! Each winner will receive a 12-piece hand tester sieve package just for entering their names in the draw bin at either the Crop Production Show hosted in Saskatoon or Brandon Ag Days hosted in Brandon. This package retails at $250 and makes testing the dockage in your grain a breeze. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who took the time to enter their names at the Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling booth at each show. Thanks again and we’ll be seeing you soon!

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Posted in Division News | More articles by Mitch Flaman

Frank Flaman's generosity continues with Haiti donation


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionJan 15, 2011

One year after a devastating earthquake struck the capital of Haiti, Frank Flaman has once again generously given half a million dollars to support the relief effort.

In a simple presentation on Jan. 12 at Flaman Sales in Nisku, Flaman donated $250,000 to the Salvation Army and $250,000 to Oxfam. These funds are in addition to the $500,000 he donated to the same charities shortly after the earthquake hit in 2010 through the Frank Flaman Foundation.

“These charities do a lot of good work,” says Flaman. “And there’s a real need in Haiti. There’s still so much suffering there – people are living in tents with no clean water.”

Around 230,000 people died and 1.5 million were left homeless after a magnitude seven earthquake struck the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince last year. Billions of dollars in international aid have been donated toward relief work, but money is still needed to reconstruct the devastated city.

“This donation is a symbol of the generosity Canadians continue to demonstrate as Haitians struggle to rebuild their country,” says Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada. “It's a tremendous display of support at a time when it's needed most."

Since the earthquake, Oxfam has provided clean drinking water and sanitation facilities to more than 400,000 displaced people, provided 98,000 people with emergency shelter, distributed hygiene kits containing personal-care items like soap, shampoo and towels to 120,000 people and assisted 175,000 people in reopening businesses and removing rubble through cash-for-work programs. Among other programs, the organization has spent $19.5 million on water, sanitation and hygiene and $11 million towards emergency food security and livelihoods programs.

The Salvation Army currently operates 49 primary schools throughout Haiti, along with several children’s homes and secondary schools. The Army’s medical work includes maternity programs, dispensaries, tuberculosis clinics, primary health care centres and a nutrition centre.

“I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support Frank Flaman has provided for our work in Haiti,” says Karen Diaper, The Salvation Army’s assistant public relations director. “This donation will help many people on their road to recovery and redevelopment. Without such community minded, generous people as Frank Flaman, The Salvation Army wouldn't be able to provide such assistance, in Haiti and around the world.”

Along with its support for Haiti, the Frank Flaman Foundation has funded and helped countless global charities provide their valuable services, both locally and around the globe. For more about the foundation visit www.flaman.com/foundation

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Posted in Local News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Western Canada Farm Progress Show


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Grain Cleaning DivisionMay 26, 2011

The Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling Division would once again like to welcome you to join us at the Western Canada Farm Progress Show in Regina, Saskatchewan. The show starts June 15th and ends June 17th

Come out and learn about cutting edge technology, emerging trends, and ever-changing demographics. Learn how to combat the unpredictable weather patterns we have been seeing and maximize efficiency on your farm this year. Swing by our booths and take advantage of the innovative solutions we have to offer you such as colour sorters to remove ergot from wheat or the Will-Rich Vertical Tiller to help keep you stay afloat.

Flaman Grain Cleaning and Handling Division will be displaying our newest addition to the vast line of products that we offer, the Light Foot Cleaning Machine. The Light Foot is a simple and compact air/screen grain cleaner, great for “on the farm” use.

Come and see us at the show for more details and don’t forget to enter your name into our draw for a 12-piece dockage testing kit. That’s right, we’re giving away a 12-piece hand-tester sieve kit set to your specifications to test your various commodities. See you at the show!

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Posted in Division News | Tagged with Western Canada Farm Progress Show Flaman Grain Cleaning Light Foot Cleaner Hand Sieve Draw | More articles by Mitch Flaman

New and improved Stuck in the Muck Photo Contest


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionJan 11, 2011

We’re doing it again!

Due to the overwhelming success of our first contest, Flaman Sales is once again hosting the Great Stuck in the Muck Photo contest. But this year’s contest will be bigger and better!

We are opening it up to entries from across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. And this time entrants have the chance to have their best “stuck” photo featured in a calendar for 2012. The public will vote for photos just like last time, but this year they can vote for pictures in different categories such as Best Overall Stuck, Best Tractor Stuck, Best Combine Stuck or Most Comical. The winners of these categories will be included in the calendar, which will be on sale in November. All proceeds from calendar sales will support local charities.

Here’s how the contest works:

  • Upload and view photos at www.stuckinthemuck.com starting March 1 until Sept. 30.
  • Voting will begin Oct. 1 and go until Oct. 30.
  • The winners featured in the calendar will also win a new tow rope.
  • There will be five random winners again (including at least one from each province), so everyone has a chance to win!

Start taking your pictures right now! You can still visit www.stuckinthemuck.com to see all the great photos from last year and check out the new ones starting March 1.

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Posted in Division News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Stuck in the Muck random draw winners


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionDec 24, 2010

We’ve made the draw for the random winners of the Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck photo contest.

Congratulations to the winners who also get a new tow rope:
Trevor Berkan, Southey
Rick Yagelniski, Springside
Diane Coombs, Wroxton
Nicole Squires, Prince Albert
Monty Kovlaske, Humboldt
 
You can view all the voting results and photos at www.stuckinthemuck.com
 
We’ve had more than 72,000 visits to the Stuck in the Muck website from across the globe since the contest launched. Over 300 people signed up and submitted 365 photos. Thanks to everyone who support us and helped make the contest a success!
 
We’ve been getting lots of attention in the media too! We’ve had stories on CBC Radio, CBC Online, CTV, Global, CJWW, News Talk CKOM, CKBI in Prince Albert and CJGX in Yorkton to name a few!
If you’d like to check out all the media coverage that Stuck in the Muck has been getting, check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Flaman-Group-of-Companies/147896325258199
Don’t forget to give us a “Like”!
 
We know many producers had a rough time seeding and harvesting in the mud, but we hope you had some fun with this contest and were able to have a few laughs about the “sticky” situations.
 
Trevor Berkan
 
Rick Yagelniski
 
Diane Coombs
 
Nicole Squires
 
Monty Kovlaske
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Posted in Division News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Winners of the Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck contest


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionDec 21, 2010

What started out as a frustrating time with spinning tires and sticky terrain has turned into a winning situation for five Saskatchewan farmers.

Flaman Sales has announced the winners of the Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck photo contest, as voted on by the public. The winners of a brand new tow rope are:
  1. Carla Debnam, Chruchbridge
  2. Wayne Ratzlaff, Waldheim
  3. Richard Semchuk, Meath Park
  4. Evan Sauer, Edenwold
  5. Lori Wuchner, St. Gregor
After farmers across Saskatchewan dealt with record rainfall this past spring and summer, Jody “Joe” Kemp, with Flaman Sales in Southey, soon realized that getting stuck in the mud was a province-wide epidemic. He came up with the idea of the contest where farmers could submit their best “stuck” photos and share their experiences with each other.
And share they did – since the contest launched Nov. 8 there have been more than 60,800 visits to www.stuckinthemuck.com as people have viewed and voted for the over 360 photos entered from across the province.
 
“This contest has exceeded our expectations,” Kemp says, noting he’s received a lot of positive feedback from customers as well. “I think it became so popular because everyone was in the same predicament this year. Everyone could sympathize with each other. While getting stuck was depressing at the time, people are looking at all the photos and they’re laughing about it now.”

First place winner Carla Debnam, who combined 10 quarters of grain near Churchbridge, agrees the contest has been fun and enjoyed looking at all the “wonderful” photos that were entered. She says it’s nice to win a prize after dealing with such a difficult harvest. 

“Saskatchewan farmers had it rough,” she says. “Everyone deserves a pat on the back.”

After getting stuck pretty bad this year, Debnam is sure she’ll need a new tow rope. With all the snow, she thinks there could be a wet spring next year.

Flaman Sales will also be drawing five random winners from all of the entries on Wed., Dec 22 who will win a new tow rope as well. The winners, along with the Top 25 and all the submitted entries, can be viewed at www.stuckinthemuck.com. Photos can still be uploaded for sharing and the site will remain up for viewing.
 
1st

 
2nd
 
3rd
 
4th
 
5th
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Posted in Division News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Voting has begun for Stuck in the Muck


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionDec 06, 2010

It’s time to vote!

We need your votes to help pick the winners of the Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck Photo Contest. We received more than 280 great photos and it’s too hard for us at Flaman Sales to choose.
 
From Dec. 6 to Dec. 20, you can visit www.stuckinthemuck.com every day and vote for your favourite photos. You can vote once per photo each day, but there’s no limit to the number of photos you can vote for every day.
 
The top 5 photos with the most number of votes will win a brand new tow rope!
 
But don’t forget, every photo has a chance to win. We’re drawing five random winners from all the entries to win tow ropes as well.
If you still have a great stuck in the muck picture you’d like to submit, that’s OK, we’ve extended the deadline for entries.
 
People are already voting so hurry and cast your vote now! Check back each day to see the front runners – you never know, your vote could make a difference.
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Posted in Division News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Deciphering Grain Grades


Written By: Mitch Flaman, Grain Cleaning DivisionNov 22, 2010

Frustration regarding grain standards is on the rise. Although the Canadian Grain Commission claims that they try to equally apply grading standards from year to year, a number of grading factors are still susceptible to human discretion.

It is important to know just exactly what is in each bin and what you may potentially be offering as a sample, especially on a year like this where quality problems are sinister. Flaman Group of Companies offers a variety of different tools and equipment to make sure your sample is as accurate as possible this year. They offer Brass Grain Probes for obtaining samples, Hand Tester Sieve Kits for testing dockage, and even bug lights for checking for insects. Various Air/Screen machines, and even colour sorters can be purchased for an exceptional result.

Swing by your local Flaman location today and check out some of these great products.

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Posted in Product Information | More articles by Mitch Flaman

The Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck Contest


Written By: Jennifer Thompson, Marketing DivisionNov 09, 2010

With record rainfall across Saskatchewan this past spring and summer, many farmers found themselves in sticky situations.

“It’s no secret that everyone in the province was getting their equipment stuck in the mud,” says Jody (Joe) Kemp, with Flaman Sales in Southey.
 
Almost every customer he spoke with had gotten stuck at one point and Flaman Sales even had a waiting list for tow ropes. Kemp says his friends kept sending him photos of their tractor or sprayer caught in the mud, and each one was unbelievable. But he soon realized this wasn’t just happening in southern Saskatchewan – getting stuck in the muck was a province-wide epidemic.
 
“As farmers, we are all in this together,” Kemp says, adding he thought it would be neat to have a place where farmers could share their experiences. So Flaman Sales created the Great Saskatchewan Stuck in the Muck Contest, where producers can upload their best stuck photos on the Internet and have a chance to win great prizes.
 
“Getting stuck is depressing at the time, but when you look back at the photos afterwards you can laugh,” Kemp says, “If a guy was having a bad day and he sees a picture of someone 10 times more stuck than him, it might make him feel better.”
 
Farmers can visit www.stuckinthemuck.com to submit their photos and view and comment on the other entries. Starting December 6, the public can vote for their favourite photo and the top five photos will win a 50 foot, $469 tow rope. Flaman Sales will also be drawing for five more tow ropes from all the entries, so everyone has a chance to win.
 
“We feel for all of the farmers in the province and care about the wellness of our customers,” says Kemp. “This is a way to build community with the agricultural producers. If there’s someone in Estevan looking at photos from Yorkton, he’ll know we all had to deal with the same issues.”
 
In one of the worst stories he heard, Kemp says a farmer had a stuck sprayer, so a truck and trailer was brought in to unload the chemical. But the truck and trailer got stuck so a four-wheel drive tractor was brought in to pull it out. A backhoe was needed to dig out the sprayer, but it too got stuck and needed to be pulled out by the tractor. In the end, it took two four-wheel drive tractors to pull out the sprayer.   
 
“When they got that equipment out, people were cheering like the Riders had just scored a touchdown,” Kemp says. “I’ve talked to farmers who’ve been farming for 80 years and they all agree it’s never been like this.”
 
Producers can submit their stuck in the muck photos until Dec. 5 and there’s no limit to the number of photos you can upload. Voting will run from Dec. 6 to 20. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day. Visit www.stuckinthemuck.com for more details.
 
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Posted in Division News | More articles by Jennifer Thompson

Colour Sorter Saves Alberta Seed Cleaner


Written By: Mary MacArthur, Oct 13, 2010

By Mary MacArthur, Camrose bureau
August 12, 2010

CLIVE, Alta. — A colour seed sorter has kept the Clive Seed Cleaning Coop in business, says the chair of the co-op’s board.

“We think it’s going to save our operation,” Dave Rainforth said.

“We realized it would shut down if we didn’t look for ways to improve our cash flow.”

The seed cleaning plant in Clive, northeast of Red Deer, is similar to the hundreds of plants that were once as common in small towns as grain elevators. They were built in the 1960s and 1970s as a way to encourage and help farmers clean grain for seed.

However, the amount of seed cleaned at the aging plants stagnated with the introduction of new crop varieties that must be bought new each year.

The Clive plant cleans 150,000 bushels of grain per year, down from a high of almost 300,000 bu. in 1998- 1999.

The addition of the $250,000 colour sorter in March has already increased the amount cleaned and has saved farmers thousands of dollars in dockage.

“It’ll save guys like me $100,000 a year or more,” Rainforth said recently as he unloaded a truck of moisture-damaged wheat.

He expects the computerized colour sorter will improve the grade from feed to No. 2.

Assistant plant manager Kelly Giles said he’s seen a wheat grade increase from feed to No. 1 when the ergot was removed with the help of the new system.

Another farmer, who accidentally dumped canola into a bin that contained fertilizer, was able to use the colour sorter to remove the fertilizer and make the crop acceptable at the elevator after it was initially rejected.

The sorter can remove anything that is a different colour: wheat from barley, barley from canola, ergot from wheat.

“As long as there is a colour change, we can take it out,” Rainforth said.

The board paid for the sorter and other improvements by selling 130 $2,500 shares to local farmers. Each share guarantees farmers the ability to sort and clean 10,000 bu. per year.

The plant expects to clean 800,000 bu. of grain this year because of a bigger than normal ergot problem caused by wet weather.

Rainforth said local support for the project was significant.

The county gave the plant a matching $250,000 grant and the village of Clive gave it a tax break. The plant is the village’s only industry.

Local farmers and community residents volunteered to pour cement and build a climate-controlled room for the machine.

Rainforth said the colour sorter earns farmers money by increasing their grades, while the extra revenue allows the plant to pay for repairs and upgrades as well as hire Giles as a second employee.

“The potential to make shareholder farmers money is huge and it will make us money too,” Rainforth said.

The share sale and volunteer labour have also allowed the plant to increase its elevator storage capacity to 50,000 bu. from 5,000 bu.

Rainforth said farmers will now be able to grow malting barley on wheat stubble and not worry about wheat contamination in the grain.

A camera reads colours as the grain flows down a panel and shoots out blasts of air to remove the off-colour grain.

“I’ve got it set for ergot,” Giles said as he cleaned grain.

“It’ll blast that out and usually a couple of the neighbouring pieces.”

Added Rainforth: “It’s an amazing machine.”

http://www.producer.com/Markets/Article.aspx?aid=25163

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Posted in Testimonials | More articles by Mary MacArthur