Warren Buffet once quipped, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
This is something worth thinking about as we start to prepare for harvest.
Canada has a strong reputation for consistently delivering safe, high-quality grain to our customers both here at home as well as offshore.
The Canadian grain industry, including farmers, depends on this reputation to gain access to international markets.
Every part of the value chain must do all that it can to preserve this hard-won reputation. Individual farmers play a critical role in preserving the “Canada brand,” especially at harvest.
Some things that affect quality, such as the weather, are outside of a farmer’s control. However, many key grain safety factors are 100 percent within a producer’s control.
We can’t forget this as we rush to get the crop into the bin before rain and frost. We need to keep an eye on our customers while we are on the combine.
The pre-harvest application of pesticides is a critical grain safety area that farmers need to pay attention to this time of year.
It is critically important for farmers and their staff to know and understand what is on the label for every product they apply. There are no conditions where it is acceptable to not follow the label.
Vessel shipments will be rejected if samples contain residues that are above maximum limits. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence, but it’s an entirely preventable problem and should simply never happen.
There are two important elements of the label that require special attention this time of year: applying too early and applying too late.
Some products, such as glyphosate, should not be applied while the crop is too green.
The label for glyphosate indicates that application should not occur if the seeds are 30 percent moisture or higher. And yes, this does include the low spots that are greener than the rest of the field. Application when seed moisture is above 30 percent will result in absorption by the seed and consequently residues.
Glyphosate is of particular interest because it has come under fire from those who do not support the use of pesticides for any reason. This comes despite the fact glyphosate has been repeatedly shown to be one of the safest agricultural chemicals in use.
Farmer’s rigorous adherence to the science-based label will help blunt the criticism of the activists and keep this important product in our toolbox for years to come.
Cam Dahl is president of Cereals Canada.