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Red Deer County News

Posted on: September 24, 2018

2018 Agricultural Tour Highlights

Ag Tour 2018 (3)

Four stops along the 2018 Agriculture Tour gave attendees a look at the wide array of Red Deer County’s diverse agricultural industry.

Agricultural tourists saw produce, dairy, grain, and feedlot operations during the Aug. 15 tour, put on by Red Deer County’s Agriculture Department.

The tour started with a look at Beck Farms’ produce operations, run by Rod and Shelley Bradshaw with their sons Kurt and Brent. They have 40 acres of vegetable production including carrots, beets, dill, parsnips, sweet and hot peppers, cole crops and eggplant. The peppers rely on greenhouses for production.

Known for their carrots, Shelley said they grow a specifically sweet variety.

The vast majority, 95%, of the produce the farm generates is sold at farmer’s markets, with the remaining five per cent sold at local Co-ops in the winter.

Starting with 30 cows in 2001, the Van Der Gun dairy operation has grown to 130 cows producing 18,000 glasses of milk per day. Elize and Theo Van Der Gun came to Canada from Holland in 1999 and started their dairy operation two years later.

In 2007, the milking barn was converted to all free stalls and expanded. A new barn was also recently built, to house cows who are on a milking vacation.

The cows are milked twice a day, at 4:30 AM and 4:00 PM.

On top of the dairy operation, they have 400 acres of barley, alfalfa and grass hay.

At the Stauffer feedlot, they have 4,500 head of cattle, about one-third calf and two-thirds yearlings. Murray Stauffer has operated the feedlot for about 40 years and the current manager, Jack Pyddifant has been with the operation for 35 years.

Calves will come to the farm weighing 600-700 pounds. They will consume 30 pounds of feed per day (24 pounds of barley, one pound of supplement and five pounds of silage) and leave the farm ] weighing about 1,300 pounds. Yearlings typically arrive weighing 800 to 900 pounds and leave at 1,400 pounds.

Key to the feedlot’s operation is both the composition of the feed they receive and the meticulous record keeping handled by the farm’s staff.

The tour concluded at the Ammeter farm, just south of Sylvan Lake.

Run by Allison and Mike Ammeter, their operation boasts 1,500 acres of wheat, barley, canola and peas.

The Ammeter’s use the latest technology – GMOs, variable seed technology and zero-tillage – for their operation.

The couple are heavily involved in marking grain through commissions, as Mike is a director with the Canola Growers of Alberta and Allison is a director with the Pulse Growers of Alberta.

They also talked about urban neighbour relations and drew on their experience on commissions both provincial and federal to talk about policy changes at both levels that impact farmers.

Photo Gallery: Ag Tour Highlights
Video: Ag Tour Highlights
Video: Agriculture Connects with Urban

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