What’s Happening In Canada? An Update From Sam of the North
21 Aug 2328 min 44 sec

Canada’s wildfires have darkened the skies far away from their source, sending smoke and odor throughout much of the USA. So what’s the impact on those who live and work closer to the 12 million acres of burning timber land? XA affiliate Sam Coutu updates us what’s happening on his farm and the rest of Quebec. Sam is persevering through weather challenges — following the fires came 24 inches of rain within a 50 day timeframe — yet he’s still expecting solid results for his soybean and barley crops due to his “high management” style.

Presented by AgXplore

00:00 What's happening in Canada? That's the question we're gonna answer with our friend Sam Chu Sam of the North, as he is known as our extreme Ag affiliate. Coming up next, 00:09 Welcome to Extreme ags Cutting the curve more than just a podcast. It's the place for insights and information you can apply immediately to your 00:17 farming operation for increased success. This episode of Cutting the Curve is brought to you by Ag Explorer with innovative products that improve fertilizer efficiency, protect yield potential, 00:28 and reduce stress. Ag Explorer helps growers maximize field potential. Find out how Ag Explorer can help you get more out of your crop@agexplorer.com. 00:38 And now, here's your host, Damien Mason. Hey there. Welcome to another fantastic episode of Extreme Eyes Cutting the Curve. You know, we've got these awesome affiliates, uh, 00:48 sprinkled around North America that do cool stuff and then share that information with you. And you might remember Sam Cchu. He's, uh, 00:56 he's Sam of the north. He's also enormously big, and he's a pretty big sized farmer, especially considering that there's not as many farms in Quebec. 01:04 I think the last time we had him on the air, he told me it's like 3% of the entire province is, uh, agricultural land. 2%, 01:11 2% of the property in the entire province of Quebec is agricultural. Uh, lots of forests, lots of lakes. And uh, Sam shared with us his information. He farms at, what is it, 01:22 about 1500 acres you farm up there? Yeah, 1600 this year. Yeah, 1600 acres. And you are pretty close to the St. Lawrence Seaway. 01:31 So you're not all that far into Quebec because the further north you get in Quebec, the more rocks and trees, right? Yep. 01:37 I'm 60 miles from Montreal, 60 miles from Montreal. All right. So Sam, what's happening in Canada? Uh, I wanna hear about your operation. I wanna hear what big learning, uh, 01:47 events you've had this year. But more importantly, let's start with the big one. I go out here out on my farm in Indiana, uh, a month ago, 01:55 and my eyes are burning. My eyes are burning because of all the smoke that you people are sending down here. Is this an act of war? Why did you do this to us? 02:04 Because it was too dry. It was too dry. Then, uh, we had the really dry, uh, see, uh, beginning of season Yep. And, uh, way up north. 02:19 'cause the wildfires were way up north from here. You know, they were about eight hours from here. Okay. Couple, 02:27 couple hundred miles. Okay. So a couple hundred miles, at least north of view is where the fires were. And I'm a couple hundred at least, uh, 02:34 more than probably about five or 600 miles from you. And we, and we smelled the smoke. What's it doing to, what's it doing to Canada? 02:42 What's it doing to the availability of stuff or what's it doing to the growing degree days if it was that bad down here to, was it smoky up there? 02:50 Just kind of give me the background on the, on the fires and what it's done to you. Yeah. First of all, 02:55 in Quebec there was 12 million acres affected by the wildfires burned. So 03:02 Burned or, or damaged. Yeah. And it's 10 times more than usual. Yeah. I mean, there's, there's always some degree of forest fires. 03:12 You get dry in the summer and then, you know, dead trees become tender. Um, so, so 12 million acres impacted with fire. 03:21 And that's 10 times normal than a normal season. Yep. Normal is 1.2 million. Okay. So this year it's roughly 12. And we're not, and we're not even necessarily done yet. Are we thinking 03:33 More? And the old, the old Canada is roughly 30 million. Okay. Is there, do we have 'em contained? Are they done? 03:41 Did rains come and put 'em out or? Yeah. Yeah. Right now the rains have contained, I think there's nine, nine fires still in effect in Quebec. So it's not huge. 03:52 So if it's, if I'm smelling it and it burns my eyes in Indiana, I can't imagine, you know, even though you're a few hundred miles away from it, 03:59 it still impacts you. So what, what did it do? Did it change anything about your practices? Has it changed your cropping? Uh, We haven't seen the sun for a while, so our, 04:10 our crops haven't seen the sun. We haven't seen the sun. And we, 04:17 we have way more precipitation than usually also. Yeah. Which is, I don't know if it's from the, all the smokes. 'cause the smokes was like turning around Yeah. 04:31 Around us and was so high in the atmosphere. Yeah. That it created for us, that our southern Quebec, it created a lot of rain. 04:43 So since June 24th, we right here, we received 25 inches of rain. So since June. Since June, what? 04:55 June 24th. So in, since, oh, by the way, to the listener, we are recording this here on August, uh, 14th. 05:02 We're recording this on August 14th. Yes. So you're talking less than two months, roughly 50, roughly 50 days. In the last 50 days, you've recorded 24 inches of precipitation. 05:14 Yep. And, And a normal year, you probably a Normal year for all the year's. 29 For all the years. Yeah. So, so that's, and you, you wonder Yes. 05:26 Did the smoke trigger this? Did the heat, uh, sometimes, you know, we talk about heat trigger. 05:30 Yeah. But it's been, it's not been that. We had some eat, but not as usual. Like right now it's only like 60 at night. 05:40 Yeah. Okay. So, so we can say that, uh, the, the fires began because of dryness and clearly since June 24th, we've taken care of that. I'm surprised there's still any nine fires going, 05:51 but it must not be in Quebec. Uh, no, they are in Quebec, but in between parallel 48th and 54. 05:59 So they're really, really north, Very, very, very far north. Okay. So do you think when you go out and scout your fields right now, mid-August, uh, 06:07 you know, you're, you're certainly a little behind me and you're a little behind, certainly, you know, down in Matt Miles is harvesting right now for out loud. 06:14 So if you go out, got your fields, do you think there's a noticeable impact? First off, boatloads of rain, almost too much. 06:20 You start to worry about some root health, you start to worry about some rotting and, and probably a more propensity for fungus and rust. 06:28 Is that what we're talking about? Yeah. Uh, um, white mold, white mold is really huge in soybean on those years. So 06:39 I, my fields have all been sprayed with the fungicide. So we'll see the next few weeks. Right now, I have no pressure. I have seen, 06:49 I have scouted them and I've not seen any pressure of white mold yet. But what is concerning is the corn, 07:00 corn is just finishing to pollinated. And, uh, there's no, and any yellow on any hues of corn. 07:08 Right. So then the question becomes, uh, if you had to go out and treat when you've had 24 inches of rain in 50 days, it's gotta be too, too wet for you to even go in with a spray rig. 07:22 So you, it was really, really challenging. Are you spraying it or are you flying it on? We have no access to fly, 07:29 so we have to spray by air, uh, ground R. So there's no aerial applicators, or is it, is it because they're just not there or because it's just, 07:39 Uh, there's no plane. There's no plane at all here in the area. I don't know if, uh, the south shore there is, but here locally, there's not, 07:48 there's two, I know two or three helicopters. Yeah, but not more than that. And they are busy in the vegetables. Oh, yeah. Right. So the stuff that's a little more high value, so, well also, 08:02 when you don't have that much farm ground, then there's probably not a lot of aerial applicators because, uh, it's not a big enough, uh, business for them to exit. 08:11 No. And I don't know if there's an issue with the environment also. Yeah, Right. So you think you're gonna be, okay. 08:20 We talked about the white mold and you talked about, you know, treating with fungicide. Honestly, back to the roots thing, 08:25 you said it's getting down to 60 at night, you got all this water hanging around. If you did a root dig, would you start to see any kind of root issues because of this amount of cold 08:33 and wet? Not really. What cooler and wet, what really helps us is that the beginning was dry, so the roots has been able to get the, 08:46 a good establishment. So root wise, we're not too bad. But with all the rain, the, the plans have made a lot more vegetation than usual. 08:59 Okay. What about this, Sam? Um, it's hard enough to get employees. I think it's probably similar in Canada as to here, you know? Oh yeah. 09:08 For three and a half years now, things have been messed up. Businesses not still normal. 09:13 You Know, you, you go to a store, I went to a store like Best Buy, you know, like a big name store to buy some, you know, 09:21 very common item. Shelves are empty. And I'm like, what the hell's going on? So then you throw in wildfires, uh, 09:28 there's a little political tumult going on. And Quebec, it seems to me, uh, is stuff, is stuff screwy or is stuff getting more normal? I mean, 09:38 what, what's this whole summer been like? Um, the stores, it's, uh, I'm not going to the store often, 09:50 but what will be a challenge will be the vegetables, uhhuh, because we last about 50% of the production 10:00 in the field. Yep. So this winter, I, I think the price of vegetables would go way higher than they're now you'd Be trucking, you'd be trucking in more vegetables from Florida and Texas. Uh, 10:14 oh. Yeah. Okay. What about getting crop inputs? Was that distorted? Uh, this 10:20 Year? Uh, no, it was, it was more hard last year than this year. Okay. 10:25 But the prices were maybe a little bit higher this year. Okay. 10:31 It looks the same. And then what about like, the employee issue? I mean, like, if you deal with a ag retailer is Yeah. Are they, 10:39 do they have all the help that they need? Or is it still kind of Yeah, No, AG retailer, it was hard. It was hard. They, 10:45 they don't offer the same services as the past years. Okay. So you're, you're, you're, you're still, they're, they still don't have enough manpower, basically. Yeah, 10:57 No. And on the farms also, we have to, we have to be creative sometimes to, to make things happen. Yeah. Right, right, right, right. So, uh, uh, I'm talking to Sam of the north, 11:09 by the way, and, uh, you should keep up with his stuff. He's, he's doing some cool things. So tell me about the, the entire operation. 11:16 Are you spraying, you've done fungicide, things are looking okay, you're not, you're, you're not having root problems. What's, what's it look like? 11:23 Um, I just begin, uh, 10 days ago to I was my barley, malting barley. And, uh, quality wise, I will just receive a test, uh, this afternoon. But quality wise, I look, 11:37 it looks promising, uh, roughly 70 bushel an acre, but it's, I management and some guys around the yard are talking about 25 to 30 11:49 bushel acre on the normal manag. Okay. Now tell me what this means. Uh, your barley, first off, you, you checked your barley. You think you're gonna get 70 bushels per year? 11:59 Uh, what I have harvested right now, yeah. So far my average is, is roughly 70. 12:06 Okay. But why are the other people struggling and getting less than half of that? Uh, they don't, the, the, the seed, 12:14 they go put the seed in the ground, they spray for an herbicide, and they came back with the combine. 12:22 So the reason they're getting less than half of what you is, 'cause they didn't work hard at the crop 12:27 For this year with, uh, the challenging year we have so far, uh, eye management will really be 12:35 Okay. I m h Now what's, what's that word you're saying? Eye management Tell us that 12:41 Will really, this year eye management will really pay over normal. I management. Management. I, management management. All right. 12:51 So I told you sometimes I'm here to interpret my friend Sam Chu barley. Where's your barley go? Is it for beer or is it for, uh, or for animal food? 12:59 Because I think that Kevin Matthews used to grow barley and it went to, uh, animal food. I thought, 13:05 Yeah, mine is contracted for, uh, malting for beer. So that's the reason. Also, I, I'm an agent. 'cause I read the, the price for the beer is really higher than for the fee. 13:21 Yeah. So by, by putting a lot of management to it, you get bigger yields. And then you're, are you allowed to sell everything? 13:27 Are you allowed to sell everything you produce or do you have a, a limit on what you can give? What, what they'll buy, 13:33 Uh, this year, this year they, there's a new plan, a new plant for the malting barley. So they really needs it. So all the, the quality, the good quality barley, they will, 13:48 they will take it. That's fantastic. So you're gonna make money in your barley. How many of your 1600 acres also, how many, how many acres of your 1600 go to, 13:56 uh, 225. And do they go labatts? Uh, no. It's, uh, I don't know where it will go, which company's gonna buy. It's a, it's a new plant and they will distribute it, 14:11 uh, Wherever I see. To, to all the, to all the breweries. Yeah. Okay. So on your other acres, uh, which thing, 14:17 which thing has you the most concerned based on? The crazy weather, the hot, and then the fires, and then the deluge of rain for the last 50 days. 14:25 Which crop you take is The maturity of corn right now is concerning. Okay. 14:31 Beans. We have, it's, it's doing so much vegetation. It's at least 10 to 12 inches higher than normal. Yeah. With all the rain we have. So yeah. We have to manage that. 14:45 But we we're going to need the, the sun and eat to put some weight in those pot. 14:55 Yeah. So you're thinking you're gonna have a low test weight situation on your corn, Uh, on your corn in, in our corn. If it continues like that, 15:02 it'll be a struggle. Yeah. You'll have low, low test weight. No, 15:06 It is not falling over though, right? Uh, no. We have, uh, with those big Rain Evans, we have some big wind Evans Uhhuh, and, uh, 15:16 there's some corn that were laying flat on the ground. Not here, but 20 miles from here. There was corn that was flat on the ground. Right. 15:25 Is there any salvaging that, or is that just a insurance or a bailout? Uh, Yeah, the insurance. But it came back, this particular field is, 15:35 was supposed to be, um, job for silage for dairy. Dairy cows. Yes. So, is is there a way to get it off the ground? You can't, I mean, 15:44 even for silage, uh, It, it has came back up. Okay. Yep. Yep. They're, they're gonna build a chop silage off of it. 15:51 Yeah. Got it. All right. So, uh, all the other stuff. Now, uh, weather, weather aside, you went down to Kevin Matthews Field Day, 15:59 which was very educational for you in North Carolina. What's the big takeaway that you, uh, got from Kevin Matthews Field Day that you're gonna bring back to your farm? 16:08 Um, to manage. To manage right. For the, the good, the, the right inputs, the right time, the right time of applications, fungicide also. Mm-hmm. Really, 16:23 the, there was, um, there was a topic on that. It was Yep. And then, uh, talk about calcium. Mm-hmm. Yep. Calcium, we've 16:34 Talked about, we've talked about calcium a good bit. And, uh, with the, especially with the agri liquid folks, 16:40 do you think you lack calcium in your situation? Yeah, I think so. I think socas, uh, can, I can produce some bigger soybean plants. Yep. 16:54 But to, to keep the, the, the, the branching. Mm-hmm. Yeah. That's, yeah. They became, especially this year, soybean plants are huge. 17:10 Yes. And they are beginning to falling down. Yeah. So, Kelly, remember Kelly Garrett talks about that. And one of the, geez, probably like first few months of recording, uh, 17:19 cutting the curve podcast episodes with Kelly. He spoke about the need for plant growth regulators, because he had vegetative growth on soybeans. 17:27 The soybeans got to be six feet tall and then fell over. And so he says, you know, we, we've missed out on probably, arguably 25% of the crop because, 17:36 you know, damage laying on the ground. So, you know, we've learned that too much vegetative growth is, works against good yield. My soybean got two pgr on it. 17:48 Yeah. You, you use two, two doses of plant growth regulator, and you still have, uh, soybeans that are a foot. Uh, 17:54 Yeah. It's, it's a field in particular. It's 20 acres, but, um, fertility in this field is really good. Yes. And with all the rain we have, 18:03 yeah. Just soybean. Just, All right. Biggest challenge this year. Besides the rain, anything else that challenged you in the year 2023 between, 18:14 Uh, the beginning of the year was the, uh, manpower? The what? Manpower. 18:21 Oh, you didn't have enough. You didn't have enough work and of help Yeah. To begin the season, it was, was rough word three. 18:29 Yep. Okay. And then what are you looking forward to most in, uh, 2023? Big checks for the barley? 18:36 I hope so. Hey, it's okay. We we're, I know that most farmers still are afraid to admit that they make money, but we like making money around here at extreme Ag. Uh, 18:45 We're gonna make money. We have to, I, I have to make money. That's right. You have to make money. 18:50 So what else are you looking forward to this year? Uh, the soybean will be really good. I think if we can take it to, 19:00 If we keep it from falling over. Yeah. And to keep it in from a frost. Yeah. In September, that would be a disaster. 19:10 But because, well, If you get an early frost up there, you're saying before the beans are fully, I mean, it'll obviously dry them down and make it so they can harvest. You know, 19:20 you start getting a couple of hard frost. But you're saying if it comes too early, you still miss out on pod fill or on weight? 19:27 Yeah, on weight. And also, because what is an early thrust for us is like September 15. Mm-hmm. That would be way too early. Mm-hmm. Uh, 19:39 usually October 10th is our date for the first thrust, but this year we will need a good two good months, like September and October to be really hot. It would be, 19:54 it would be nice. It could change the season. Yeah. So if you, if you can avoid an early frost before October 1st, you're probably still okay. 20:02 Yeah. Like right now, nothing has, nothing is done and nothing, uh, it's a gamble right now. 20:09 Right. Uh, are you doing any experiments, uh, for us? Is there anything that you've got going on or any new product or stuff that you now are starting to see how it worked out? 20:20 Yeah. Well, uh, I haven't scalp my fields really for like 10 days, but I have a test. You haven't 20:28 Been in your fields for 10 days? What's going on here, Sam? I was in the combine and then I was in the US 20:35 Right. Okay. So now I have a test with, uh, pretech. I tried, uh, three different product with them and I try Acharge also. 20:47 Okay. So you're doing, you're doing some experiments with Nutri Charge from Agritech, U s A. The other one you said you're doing some experiments with are 20:54 Spray tech. Spray tech. Yep. And that's the, the stuff that's, it's, their product is, uh, it's an adjuvant, it's a interest control agent. It's, uh, 21:05 a surfactant. It's, uh, it's, It's, I have, uh, I have the adjuvant, which is Full Tech Uhhuh. I have, uh, boron Max. 21:16 A Boron product. Yeah. Yep. And I have, uh, the cube. What's that? The Cube? 21:22 Yeah. That's got, isn't that like, like three, three things? It does. That's a plant, uh, plant health 21:30 Product. Plant health product. Right. Yep. Got it. So that's kind of cool. So are you seeing anything that excites you? 21:36 Uh, Chad is just coming this, this Wednesday for a field day in Quebec. Mm-hmm. So we're gonna go check that with him. Yep. 21:45 Yeah. Do you think the customs people are going to be nice to him? Because your Canadian customs people are usually kinda difficult to deal with 21:52 and, and he, he talks funny Southern talk. You thinks he's gonna Yeah. Well, I just hope they will understand him. 21:57 Yeah. I was gonna say, you got French speaking people, bringing Southern talking people. I don't know if that's gonna work. Yeah, it will work. 22:05 Alright. So you've got a field day coming up here in a couple of days at your place? Uh, no, it's not on my place. It's a friend's farm on the South Shore. 22:13 Okay. Do you, do you farm it or it's your friend that owns it and farms with you? No, No, no. You do an on his farm? I don't farm any a any. 22:22 I see. So you're gonna go down there. Are you, do you have a role? You gonna be talking to anybody about any of these products you're trialing? 22:29 Uh, I'm not supposed to talk, but we'll see. You're not supposed to. Alright, so get me outta here, Sam of the north. We checked in to see what's going off in Canada. What, uh, what, 22:41 what else did I not ask you about that you think is important for us to know to your No, I think you're a guy. 22:46 You're our guy with his finger on the pulse of eastern Eastern Canada. No, there's, uh, we, with all the rain, we have, we, 22:58 that sums all about season right now. Yeah. It's really, you know, it's the, the atmosphere and the farm community is not good right 23:12 now, you know, with all the fields that are mm-hmm. That are abandoned. And now it's, it's not, it's not a good feeling. 23:22 Yeah. Right. So the environment, the, the, the feel of the mood, the mood of, uh, of your area in Quebec is, uh, not very good. 23:30 So you're kind of in a better mood because you've got this barley stuff coming, so you're gonna end up making money on barley. And so, yeah. 23:36 So you gotta pretend that you're upset, but also really behind the scenes you're actually, uh, celebrating. Yeah. But you know, 23:44 we're not a lot of people that are managing our things hard. And we are looking, we are, people are looking strange at us. Why do you do this? Why do you do that? 23:57 We are, I'm really challenged by people and they, they look at weird at me, you know, but it, it really, 24:05 it looks like it really pays good, you know? Yeah. So you've got people that are looking at you because you're doing high levels of management. You're doing intensive agriculture. You're doing stuff like, uh, 24:15 weed, extreme ag, talk about all the time, maximizing, you know, every acre and, and, uh, you know, taking that last pass. 24:22 And some of your neighbors are watching you and saying, this guy's, this guy's kind of out there, but you know what, that's okay. Remember, 24:28 didn't Kelly put on, like, put anhydrous on soybeans in the fall once? And people thought, what the hell is this guy doing? So, you know, 24:36 you gotta try some crazy stuff once in a while to see if you're doing right. You have to think outside the box. 24:41 There you go. So you're doing it. I'm, I'm glad to hear it. So, uh, you're applying some of the stuff you've learned here. I wanted to check in. 24:49 I'm gonna check in again. When we get to past harvest, I wanna hear how everything went and whether you're able to to roll. You're, you just were combining barley, uh, and 24:59 Then, and so Now what's your next step? It'll be barley, oats, uh, wheat altogether. And then in the two to three weeks, it'll be, um, canola. 25:11 'cause I'm arresting some, uh, custom, custom arresting some canola. Mm-hmm. Roughly 700 acres. And then, uh, yeah, 25:20 You don't produce it. You're just harvesting? No, I'm just harvesting it. Yeah. It's a bit, it's a one hour north of here. Yes. I don't, I, I don't know if I, I may try it on my farm. 25:32 One of those years. You might try some canola. All right, so you've got get through your cereal crops, your oats, your wheat, 25:38 and your barley here coming up. And then you go and do some custom work on canola. Yep. Quebec's not really much of a canola producer compared to the provinces, right? 25:48 No. Like I told you, uh, before, it's, uh, good rotation for this guy, for potato for, so it breaks the disease and insects. 25:59 Okay. So canola in your part of the world is more of a rotation to get rid of, uh, disease, uh, pests, uh, potato pests, uh, on a rotation. 26:09 And then from, uh, from down with the canola, then you twiddle your thumbs for a week or two, and then it's time to, uh, we think maybe roll, roll soybeans. 26:17 Yeah. I will custom, I will be custom harvesting some beans around September 15, because I got a friend that's 26:29 taking the, the opportunity that I am an hour north of here and get some fields. So we always plant early maturity beans. Yeah. 26:40 So right after the canola, it's been, it'll be the fourth year we do that. I go and harvest, harvest, like 800 acre of beans for him. 26:49 And then I came back here and I do my stuff here. Yeah. Wow. All right. I'm gonna check in with you. Uh, somewhere around post harvest. I wanna hear all this shakes out and, uh, 26:59 and let you gloat a little bit about all the money you made. But no, when you're working hard and you're trying new stuff, it's, 27:05 it is fitting that you would be getting bigger. I think that's a good testament. You're talking about, 27:09 you're doing more than double the amount of barley that some of the people down the road are. And as you said, because the yields are poor, the facility, 27:17 it says bring all you can and they're bid and the bidding, the price up, this is an opportunity. 27:22 Oh yeah. And this year is a year locked up. Yeah. You created your own opportunity, quite frankly. All right. His name's Sam Cchu. 27:31 That's c o u t u I think I get it roughly close to being accurate. When I say Cchu, I mean Chu Chu. See, 27:40 I don't know French, but I do the best I can. All right, so his name's Sam Chu. My name's Damien Mason. 27:45 You have been listening to Extreme Eyes Cutting the Curve. Remember, we've got hundreds of episodes like this cool Information insights, 27:52 interviews with the guys doing interesting stuff, and we want you to share this. So share this with anybody that's in the business of agriculture that can learn 27:59 from this, you know, at XT Extreme Ag Farm, hundreds of videos that these guys shoot on their farms, plus the stuff with cutting the curve. 28:05 It's also available at Acres TV if you wanna watch the video. So all over the place, share it. Enjoy it. Thank you for being here. Thanks, 28:12 Sam. Bye. Go next time. Thanks for listening to another edition of Cutting the Curve. For more insights and information that you can apply to your farming operation, 28:22 visit Extreme ag.farm. Are your crops stressed out? Ag Explorer has you covered with a full line of products designed to reduce crop stress and improve yields. 28:32 Check out ag explorer.com and start protecting your yields and profit.