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Mycotoxins can be detrimental to the quality of various grains. When present, they can have negative economic consequences for farmers and millers, as well as a disturbing impact on human and animal health. However, current detection tests aren’t always affordable, efficient or the most reliable. Farmers are unable to conduct their own tests, instead relying on expensive, often time-consuming lab tests—incurring costs that then get passed on to consumers.

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Not only was A.E. Cross one of the “Big Four” founders of the Calgary Stampede, but he was also one of the first in the late 1800s to bring beer to the Wild West pioneers of what was then known as the Northwest Territories. Part of this territory became the province of Alberta in 1905.

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If you don’t know what MRL stands for, you can be forgiven. Maximum residue limits have been, until recently, not something that most grain farmers in Western Canada have had on their radar. If you bought registered crop protection products and used them according to the label, all was well.

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This year is a special one. The 68th United Nations General Assembly declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (IYOP). In Western Canada, the benefits of growing peas, dry beans, faba beans, chickpeas and lentils are common knowledge. There are few producers who do not appreciate the role that these crops play in nitrogen fixation, rotational reduction of crop disease and pest cycles, seeding/harvest scheduling, and marketing flexibility.

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Although seeding is still a month or two away, it’s not too early to start thinking about your marketing plan for 2016. In fact, growers should be doing more than thinking about new crop sales—they should have most of their selling plans laid out in great detail if they want to maximize the value of the crop they will be growing this summer.

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Less than one year after its inception, the Price & Data Quotes (PDQ) website ( has proven to be a popular medium for farmers to get the best bang for their wheat, peas and canola.

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