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BC Sessional Papers

1977 Annual Report British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture British Columbia. Legislative Assembly [1980]

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Annual Report
British Columbia
Ministry of Agriculture
  To Colonel the Honourable
Lieutenant-Governor of the Province
of British Columbia.
I have the honour to submit for your consideration the Annual Report of the Ministry of
Agriculture for the year 1977.
Minister of Agriculture
  Table of Contents
Report of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture 7
Organization Chart     8
1977 Agricultural Review    9
Executive Officer     12
Marketing     14
Food Promotion      15
Markets Information      15
Production Services
Apiculture      18
Development and Extension    20
Farm Economics  22
Field Crops    26
Horticulture     28
Tree Fruits    28
Grapes     29
Berries     29
Vegetables     30
Mushrooms      30
Nursery Crops     31
Greenhouse Crops      31
Allotment Gardens  31
Livestock      32
Poultry     34
Financial Services
Agricultural Credit     38
Guaranteed Loan Program     38
Partial Interest Reimbursement Program   . . 38
Special Programs:
Peace River Livestock Production Incentive
Program      39
Agricultural Land Development Act (ALDA) 39
Agricultural and Rural Development      40
Crop Insurance     42
Farm Income Assurance     44
Farm Products Finance    46
Information      47
Property Management  48
Specialist Services
Dairy      52
D.A.T.E. Program    54
Engineering  55
Entomology — Plant Pathology      57
Soils     59
Veterinary      60
Youth Development     62
Farm Vacation Program    63
International Agricultural Exchange Program 63
page five
  Report of
the Deputy Minister
of Agriculture
To the Honourable James Hewitt
Minister of Agriculture
I take pleasure in presenting you with the 1977
Annual Report of the British Columbia Ministry of
Agriculture. This report summarizes activities of
your Ministry for the twelve months ending
December 1977.
The year 1977 could adequately be described as
one of viewing new horizons in the overall
development of agriculture within this province.
These horizons were realized with the initiation of
specific projects and programs designed to achieve
agricultural expansion in this province over the
next ten years.
One of the major programs of significance was
the signing in mid-year of a new five-year Agriculture and Rural Development Subsidiary Agreement which will stimulate a great deal of activity
in agriculture during that period.
Complementary to this, major initiatives were
taken to study both the beef and swine industries
and their potential within the British Columbia
agricultural sector.
The year saw slight improvement in a still
depressed livestock economy, little change in the
cereal grains and horticulture markets and
encouraging gains in the specialized forage seed
Near year end, the farm income stabilization
programs were being reviewed for the overall
benefit of all eligible commodity groups. In
addition, methods will be researched to achieve a
degree of harmonization with federal stabilization
Staff of your Ministry also co-operated with
research staff of the Select Standing Committee on
Agriculture in their review of the food industry in
this province.
These are but a few of the highlights of the
year's activities as described in this document. I
commend the report to your attention and consideration.
Respectfully submitted,
S.B. Peterson
Deputy Minister
page seven
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1977 Agricultural Review
Farm Cash Receipts
British Columbia farm cash receipts for 1977
from crop and livestock sales totalled $454.0
million, an increase of 6.7 per cent over 1976.
Other cash receipts, including supplementary,
deficiency and stabilization" payments from all
sources totalled $44.3 million, down by 1.4 per
cent from the 1976 level. The overall increase in
total cash receipts resulted from higher returns for
crops, up by 14.2 per cent over 1976, coupled
with only modest gains for livestock, up by 2.7 per
1 Does not include income stabilization payments
Source: Statistics Canada
Distribution of Farm Cash Receipts-1977*
$ mil.
per cent
Grains and oilseeds
Special crops, including floriculture
and nursery crops
Cattle and calves
Dairy products
Poultry and eggs
Other livestock products
"Source: Statistics Canada. Does not include supplementary, deficiency or stabilization payments.
page nine
Farm Operating Expenses
Total farm operating expenses and depreciation
charges in British Columbia increased to $412.7
million in 1977, an increase of 4.0 per cent over
1976. The most significant increases in expenditures occurred in wages to farm labour,
machinery expenses and interest on indebtedness
which rose by 15.0 per cent, 10.5 per cent and
1 3.3 per cent respectively.
Distribution of Farm Operating Expenses-1977*
per cent
Gross Farm Rent
Wages to Farm Labour
Interest on Indebtedness
Total Machinery Expenses
Crop Production Expenses
Livestock Production Expenses
Repairs to Buildings
Depreciation on buildings and
*Source: Statistics Canada.
Net Farm Income
Comparing total gross income from all sources
with farm operating expenses and depreciation
charges it appears that total net income to the
agricultural industry in B.C. has risen almost
steadily throughout the 1970's. However, comparing farm cash receipts with cash operating
expenses, and removing the influence of inflation,
real net income of the farm sector declined
between 1970 and 1976. Real growth beyond the
1970 level of net income appears to have been
achieved in 1977.
Real Net Income from Agricultural Sales
1972       -
-      102.4
1974      -
1973      -
-      100.5
1975      -
Source: Statistics Canada. Does not include supplementary, deficiency or stabilization payments.
Trends in Costs and Prices
During 1977 the price of most farm inputs
continued to climb sharply. The 1977 farm input
price index (Western Canada) rose to 251.0 (1966
= 100), an increase of 13 points over 1976. By
comparison, the index of farm prices of agricultural products in British Columbia rose less
rapidly to 2i 9.4 (1961 = 100), an increase of only
five points over 1976. These movements in cost
and price indices provide further evidence of the
cost-price squeeze that has had a profound effect
on the agricultural industry in the mid-1970's.
page eleven
The urban public are given a good opportunity to see
some aspects of British Columbia agriculture at agricultural fairs held in most British Columbia communities.
The Executive Officer is responsible for the
consolidation of legislative matters within the
Ministry. In 1977, 61 Orders-in-Council were
processed relating to 15 Acts.
The Executive Officer serves as secretary to the
Advisory Committee of the British Columbia
Agricultural Aid to Developing Countries Fund. In
1977, the fund disbursed $350,000 to support 46
projects sponsored by 25 charitable organizations.
The Executive Officer acts as secretary at the
monthly senior staff meetings of the Ministry and
as secretary to the British Columbia Agricultural
Services Co-ordinating Committee, which maintains a watch on agricultural developments in the
province and encourages research within British
Columbia agriculture.
The Executive Officer is also responsible for the
administration of grants provided by the Ministry
to the 88 Farmers' Institutes, 170 Women's
Institutes, and 58 fairs and exhibitions. As
Superintendent of Farmers' Institutes he provides
liaison with the Ministry of Agriculture and
organizes the annual meeting of the Farmers'
Institutes Advisory Board.
During the 1977 session of the Legislature
several Acts were amended. These are summarized
Bill 17: Farm Income Assurance Amendment
Act. The Act provides authority to the
Lieutenant-Governor   in   Council  to   make  regu-
Paae twelve
lations concerning the procedures to be followed,
the security required under the farm income plan,
and the appeal procedures. The regulations also
provide a means of receiving money improperly or
erroneously paid under a farm income plan and
provide a penalty for a person who gives false or
misleading information.
Bill 23: Agricultural Produce Grading Act. The
Act consolidates and replaces the five grading
statutes respecting the inspection and grading of
produce which includes: beef, hogs, poultry and
poultry products, wool, fruit, vegetables and
The Act makes provision for a federal grader to
carry out inspection on behalf of the province,
provides for more stringent penalties than the
earlier Acts as well as requiring those who are
involved in the sale of agricultural produce to have
a licence to do so.
Bill 37: Plant Protection Act: The Act enlarges
the scope of protection provided to plants by
including the management of any commodity
grown in any growth medium. Regulations may be
made to prevent the spread of an insect, pest or
disease destructive to plants.
Bill 57: Soil Conservation Act: The primary
purpose of the Act is to ensure the preservation of
the soil as a natural resource for purposes of food
production for present and future generations.
The amended Act' provides more effective
control over topsoil removal and placing of fill in
agricultural reserves by requiring that local
authorities obtain approval from the Land Commission before issuing permits. It also provides a
means of quick action and allows for the imposition of a daily fine should the Act be contravened.
Bill 91: Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment
Act: The Act includes:
— Amendment to the Milk Industry Act to provide
for penalties to enforce the quality of marketed
— Amendment to the Veterinary Medical Act to
allow the Council of the Veterinary Association
to investigate and examine a member's skill and
knowledge in the practice of veterinary
medicine, and to suspend, remove or restrict
the practice of a member whom the Council
considers does not have such skill or knowledge.
page thirteen
The Marketing Branch sponsored an extensive promotion
campaign under the banner "It's your Harvest Time" to
create an awareness of British Columbia home grown food
During 1977, the Marketing Branch concluded
the preparation of legislation entitled The Agricultural Products Grading Act. This Act is a
consolidation of a number of Acts previously in
effect, including the Beef Grading Act; Fruit,
Vegetable and Honey Grades Act; Hog Grading
Act; Livestock and Livestock Products British
Columbia Act; Poultry and Poultry Products Act;
Wool Grade Act. This Act was passed by the
Legislature during 1977 with proclamation to take
place early in 1978 following compilation of the
regulations. As well the branch made input into
the provincial position with regard to the proposed
Federal Competition Act and took part in a
number of the food inquiry sessions conducted by
the Select Standing Committee on Agriculture.
The Marketing Branch took part in federal-
provincial discussions regarding a brief entitled
"Agriculture in the Multi-Lateral Trade Negotiations" put forth to the federal government by the
four western provinces. As well the branch produced the western position on horticulture in the
Multi-Lateral Trade Negotiations.
A major potato grading change was instituted
by Agriculture Canada during 1977 following the
adoption of a motion of support by the Canadian
Horticultural Council. This motion followed very
effective presentations made by the British
Columbia industry and the British Columbia
Ministry   of   Agriculture  through  the   Marketing
Branch. This grade change was of significant
benefit to the British Columbia potato producers
during the 1977 marketing season.
The branch also took part on two Canadian
Horticultural Council subcommittees; the Tender
Fruit Committee and the Apple Committee. These
committees met during the year and focused on
the processing of tender fruit and the serious
competition from outside the country. They also
examined a proposal to conduct a study on the
marketing of apples within the Canadian domestic
The branch took part in proposals to evaluate
the British Columbia beef and swine industries. It
is anticipated that 1978 will see significant recommendations on these two industries by the
Ministry of Agriculture.
During the year a delegation from Japan visited
the province to purchase a further shipment of
Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle. This market appears
to be developing well. The Japanese buyers are
very pleased with the performance of the British
Columbia cattle. The British Columbia industry
also reacted well to the Japanese interest.
The branch once again undertook the coordination of the statistics function for the
ministry. The 1977 Agriculture Statistics Fact-
sheet as well as current statistical information was
updated to the 1976 Agriculture Census.
page fourteen
Food Promotion
1977 saw some major changes in the food
promotion operations of the branch. A Vancouver
based advertising agency was commissioned to
work with the food promotion unit. The function
of the unit is primarily to work with food industry
representatives in creating a high public awareness
of British Columbia produced food products.
The food promotion unit maintained the recipe
program with 26 recipe sheets issued during the
year. The unit took part once again in the
Canadian Restaurant Association Convention and
Bridal Fair. The presence at the Pacific National
Exhibition was changed this year from a food
demonstration format to an audio-visual presentation in order to allow space for additional
commodity groups to take part in the Country
The food demonstration trailer program was
continued for another year. This program received
very fine support from all communities visited as
well as considerable recognition from the M.L.A.'s
and media in the particular area. The program of
visiting the retail stores and assisting in identification of British Columbia produce went very well
once again. Over 300 stores were visited and
supplied with promotional materials.
The appointment of a professional advertising
firm to work with the promotion unit has been
successful with a number of new radio and T.V.
commercials prepared and aired. As well the
branch undertook two media tours of agriculture
production in the Fraser Valley in conjunction
with the Fresh for Flavour Foundation. These
promotions along with the materials prepared for
instore display earned the Marketing Branch the
1977 Salad Month Award presented by the
Canadian Fruit Wholesalers Association.
A very successful Harvest Time promotion
involving radio, T.V. and an eye-catching wall
panel and poster display served to cap the promotional year for the branch. During this time the
unit worked closely with various commodity
groups in order to provide tie-ins with the Harvest
Time theme and develop individual commodity
promotions for the coming year. As well the
branch, in conjunction with the Information
Branch, prepared a display and audio-visual presentation for the annual British Columbia Federation
of Agriculture in Kelowna. This display pointed
out  the numerous services and activities of the
British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and was
very well received by the delegates attending the
The food promotion unit's home economist
handled numerous food demonstrations and consumer questions during the year.
Markets Information
During 1977 a new function of markets information was set up under the Marketing Branch.
The early spring drought in California and uncertainty as to horticulture supplies caused the
ministry to form this unit in order to provide
current factual information on production and
marketing situations.
During 1977 the markets information unit
produced 16 issues of a publication entitled
"AgriMarket Reporter" which contains marketing
information from British Columbia and competing
areas of Canada and the Pacific Northwest. The
publication has been keyed primarily to fruits and
vegetables to date but it is hoped to expand into
other commodities in the future, as staffing
permits. In addition this function is responsible for
the large number of enquiries by British Columbia
industry and producers for various marketing
statistics. The unit also forms the primary contact
with the CAM IS function of Agriculture Canada
on marketing statistics.
page fifteen
Production Services
page seventeen
Bee overwintering facilities at Cloverdale enable controlled atmosphere storage of bees for use the following
The total honey crop during 1977 was
2,404,064 kg (5.3 million pounds), an increase of
1,156,672 kg (2,550,000 pounds) over the 1976
crop. This is the largest honey crop ever produced
in British Columbia.
If weather conditions in the interior dry belt
areas had been satisfactory honey production in
British Columbia during 1977 would have been in
excess of 2,721,582 kg (6 million pounds). As it
turned out, a one month period of fine settled
weather enabled honey producers throughout the
remainder of the province to harvest a record
honey crop.
Active beekeepers in the province number
4,948, a gain of 448 new producers since 1976.
The number of producing hives dropped from
51,000 in 1976 to 47,000 in 1977. This decline in
hive numbers was due to three poor crops in the
British Columbia Peace River area and the movement of some commercial apiaries into the Alberta
Peace River area.
The wholesale market for honey has improved.
Carryover of bulk supplies of honey throughout
Canada are nonexistent and large volumes of the
1977 Peace River crop have already been shipped
in car load lots to the U.S.A. where stocks of high
quality No. 1 white honey are in short supply.
The price of No. 1 white honey in bulk (299 kg)
—   66   pounds)   barrels  to   the   packers,  ranged
between 45-47 cents per pound. With the exception of the Peace River production the entire
British Columbia honey crop is sold through local
retail outlets or on-farm sales. The on-farm price
for honey averaged 75 cents per pound.
In co-operation with the Farm Economics
Branch, three producers' consensus costs and
returns studies were completed for commercial
beekeeping operations in the Okanagan and the
Peace River. All three studies showed a return to
both labour and investment.
For the second year, honey producers in British
Columbia were given some assistance to compensate against bear damage to hives and subsequent
loss of crop.
This assistance was provided under the terms of
the "Beeyard - Bear Protection Incentive
Program". Financial assistance was provided in the
form of grants to honey producers to assist in the
cost of constructing bear-proof electric fences or
other satisfactory protective devices.
The incidence of bee diseases was lower during
1977 compared to 1976 and 1975. The trend
towards a lower level of bee diseases is the result
of a concentrated educational and inspection
Chalkbrood, a fungus disease affecting honeybees which has made its appearance in North
America in the past decade, showed a decline in
page eighteen
1977. The reason for this decline  is not understood.
Pollination of tree fruits, small fruits, cranberries, legume and vegetable seed crops continues
to be an important responsibility of the beekeeping industry.
Work was completed on the DATE project for
wintering honeybee colonies in a controlled atmosphere building at Cloverdale. Hives overwintered in
this facility and returned to our co-operators in
the Peace River, produced a larger crop on the
average than package bees.
Construction has now been completed on two
ethylene oxide mobile fumigation chambers. These
will be used to study the economics and feasibility
of fumigating diseased hive equipment rather than
A total of 200 honeybee queens were produced
and mated under isolated conditions at our
breeding stations in Powell River and Vernon.
Eighty of these queens were shipped to Dr. C. Jay
at the University of Manitoba for testing. The
remaining 120 queens have been distributed to
British Columbia honey producers for testing and
For the fourth consecutive year experimental
apiaries were located in the interior fireweed areas
of British Columbia. Bear protective devices were
tested   and   honey   production   recorded.   Hives
averaged  in excess of 45.35 kg (100 pounds) of
surplus honey.
There are one million acres of fireweed available for honey production throughout the interior
on clear cut areas which have been slash burned.
Fireweed honey is a very high quality honey and
finds a ready market whenever it is offered for
page nineteen
District agriculturists provide direct communication with
farmers, very often using in-the-field demonstrations.
and Extension
The Development and Extension Branch is the
major delivery system for Ministry of Agriculture
advisory services. It acts as a facilitator and
co-ordinator for many regional and district extension programs in dealing directly with farmers.
District agriculturists located in 18 district
offices in the agricultural regions of the province
provided a wide range of programs and services to
the agricultural industry in 1977. The branch acts
as a local reference point for agricultural legislation and ministry programs. Many of these are
the responsibility of other branches but field
activity associated with these are the responsibility
of the Development and Extension Branch.
Priority in extension program planning and
initiation is being directed towards forage production and utilization, livestock management and
farm business management. Considerable effort
and time is allocated to range and community
pasture management extension. The branch has
been assigned the responsibility for the administration of all developed community pastures of
which there are 11 in number. These are located in
the Peace River and Central British Columbia
Extension programs were designed to teach
pasture management skills to pasture user groups.
A "community pasture agrologist" was assigned to
handle this extension function as well as carry out
administrative duties for the pastures.
The agricultural industry strongly supported
many of the agricultural extension programs
during 1977. It is encouraging to note the desire of
primary producers to acquire specific skills needed
to manage a modern farm business operation.
Extension programs in production technology and
farm business management skills have been well
attended at meetings, workshops and field days
put on by ministry staff.
Broad regional extension programs are
developed where a common need has been identified by a number of agricultural districts. These
needs are identified by primary producers,
Ministry of Agriculture, and Agriculture Canada.
The regional programs are developed and initiated
by extension committees which are active in the
areas of dairy, alfalfa, range, forage, swine, silage
and beef feedlot development.
Specific district extension programs are
developed within various agricultural districts to
meet special needs of local producers. These needs
are identified by advisory committees made up of
district producers or by discussion at commodity
group meetings. Extension programs dealing with
tax and estate planning received considerable
attention and are popular among farmers.
In addition to the extension function, the
branch is heavily committed to integrated resource
planning in concert with other resource ministries
at the provincial, regional and  local  levels. The
page twenty
Ministry of Agriculture, along with other resource
ministries, has given high priority to land use
allocation, planning and co-ordinated research
planning. It is expected that as resource planning
progresses, the demands of time on staff to
undertake this responsibility will become greater.
The branch co-ordinated a number of special
projects and studies related to agricultural development. Foremost among these were:
— Establishment of a Green Zone Committee to
make recommendations to reduce conflict
between agricultural and urban activity occurring on the agriculture-urban interface.
— Benefit study of proposal to improve drainage
and irrigation systems in the Nicomekl-
— ARDA pasture study.
In February a two-year extension of the present
Canada-British Columbia Small Farm Development
Program Agreement was signed, extending the
program to March 31, 1979. The principal client
eligibility criteria includes: maximum total farm
family income of $10,000; maximum total assets
of $150,000; total farm product sales averaging
between $1,500 and $30,000 over each of the last
three years. The program continued to provide
intensive and long-term assistance to individual
small-scale, low-income farmers who are endeavouring to make farming their principal source of
livelihood. Analysis of statistical data indicates
there are between 1,600 and 4,000 farmers in
British Columbia who would meet the eligibility
criteria for counselling services and assistance
jnder the S.F.D. Program. Eight positions have
oeen allocated to the province including a supervisory position which was established in April,
During the year several documents have been
prepared which are significant to the British
Columbia S.F.D. Program. The operational policy
was revised and expanded. This policy, based on
the appendices to the agreement, details interrelationships with the Ministry of Agriculture and
Farm Credit corporation in terms of program
activity. A discussion paper was researched and
developed which evaluated the program with the
view of developing some strategies for small-scale,
low-income farmers after the present agreement
page twenty one
Computerized decision aids are available to farmers who
need assistance on calculating loan costs, cattle ration
formulations, machinery costs and other farm manage-
men t needs.
The Farm Economics Branch provides assistance to farm managers and to farmer advisors in
the ministry who request guidance on farm business planning, financial management, farm records
and analysis of economic data for use in business
planning. To accomplish these objectives the
branch publishes booklets and factsheets on
specific topics, offers individual client counselling,
conducts workshops and short courses and
provides leadership in the use of farm records
systems and advanced farm planning techniques.
During 1977, the following resource materials
were published to assist farm managers and their
advisors in the area of farm business planning.
(1) Eighteen issues of the "Farm Business
Management" factsheet were compiled on
current topics and released.
(2) "Taxation and the B.C. Farmer" — Advisor's
guide and Layman's guide were updated to
reflect new management strategies and requirements resulting from the removal of
succession duties and gift taxes in early 1977.
(3) The publication "Sources of Farm Credit in
British Columbia" was revised and updated.
(4) The "British Columbia Farm Business
Management Data Handbook" was revised
and is on sale.
(5) Information was compiled and some filming
completed on two audio-visual programs
"Planning Your Credit Needs" and "How to
Apply for Credit". Both will be completed in
During 1977, the use of computerized decision
aids increased substantially, as shown in Figure 1.
Staff in several branches of the ministry use
decision aids developed by Canfarm and delivered
to the client through computer terminals. In 1977,
the computerized decision aides included:
— loan calculator program
— feedmix and dairy feedmix programs
— cash flow forecaster and cashplan
— machinery replacement planning aid
— machinery buy vs. custom hire program.
The branch offers the British Columbia Farm
Account book and the Canfarm record service to
British Columbia farm managers. A comparison of
enrollment on the record systems for 1975, 1976
and 1977 is shown in Table 1. A long-term
comparison of enrollment is shown in Figure 2.
During 1977, three comparative analysis reports
were published for use by farm managers
(1) 1976    British    Columbia    Farm    Business
Analysis Report
(2) 1976 British Columbia Dairy Farm Business
Analysis Report
(3) 1976  British Columbia  Beef Farm  Business
Analysis Report.
During   1976,   the    British   Columbia   Farm
page twenty two
Business Management Advisory Committee established guidelines to allow private firms to offer
Canfarm record service and computerized decision
aids to farm clients. During 1977 the following
firms were approved to offer such services.
(1) Wilson & Paterson, Dawson Creek
(2) Mr. Frank Lee, Victoria
(3) Mr. H. H. Groenwold, H. R. Lucas, Abbotsford
(4) Northwest Agrinomics Ltd., Clearbrook
(5) Mr. G. B.Phillips, Smithers
(6) Mr. K. P. Wiebe, Clearbrook
(7) McNight Johnson & Co., Chilliwack, Abbotsford
(8) Mr. Ted Osborne, Vernon
(9) Canadian Bio-Resources Ltd., Surrey
During 1977, the costs and returns for several
agricultural   commodities   were  studied  and  the
following reports published.
— CDS 199 — Silage, Hay and Pasture Production
— Vanderhoof
- CDS 200 - 200 Hive Apiary - Peace River
- CDS 201 - 1500 Hive Apiary - Peace River
- CDS 202 - Barley, Oats and Alsike Clover Seed
Production — Farmington
— CDS 203 — Silage, Hay and Pasture Production
— South Peace River
— CDS 204 — Summerfallow, Barley, Wheat and
Use of Computerized Decision Aids-British Columbia
Ministry of Agriculture -1974 to 1977
USES   0
200 400 600 800        1000        1200        1400        1600        1800        2000
Comparison of enrollment on British Columbia Farm Account Book
and Canfarm for 1975,1976 and 1977
Record System
B.C. Farm Account Book
Canfarm (V2 and V3)
page twenty three
Comparison of enrollment on British Columbia Farm Account
Book and Canfarm Record System 1970 to 1977
B.C. Farm Account Book
i Canfarm Programs
Combined Programs
1970 1971
page twenty four
1972     1973     1974     1975
1976     1977
Creeping Red Fescue — North Pine-Pineview
CDS 205 — Corn Silage — East Fraser Valley
CDS 206 - Corn Silage - Central Fraser Valley
CDS 207 - Corn Silage - West Fraser Valley
CDS 208 - Corn Silage - Comox Valley
CDS  209 - Silage, Pasture and Hay - East
Fraser Valley
CDS 210 - Silage and Hay - Central Fraser
CDS 211 - Greenchop, Silage and Hay - West
Fraser Valley
CDS 212 - Corn Silage Production - Alder-
grove, Langley
CDS 213- Barley, Wheat, Oats and Alfalfa -
Creston Flats
CDS 214 - Corn Silage, Alfalfa Silage & Alfalfa
Hay — Lister
CDS 215-Alfalfa Hay- Lister
tee, Canada-British Columbia Small Farm Development Program Co-ordinating Committee, ELUC
Data Services Committee, the Western Farm
Management Extension Committee and the British
Columbia Farm Business Management Advisory
In addition to published data, costs were
estimated for Strawberry Production — U-pick
Data was gathered and analyzed to become part
of the benefit cost study for proposed drainage
and irrigation improvements in the Logging Ditch
area of the Nicomekl-Serpentine.
During 1977, new computer systems and programs were developed for:
(1) Storing and retrieval of information to facilitate the production of a "brand book".
(2) Analyzing data associated with the "Green
Zone Project".
(3) Calculation of ownership and operation costs
of farm machinery as part of a Federal-
Provincial Farm Machinery Cost study.
On-going projects such as the agricultural credit
reimbursement program, British Columbia Farm
Business Management Accounting Program project, 4-H statistics programs, animal feed analysis
project, grain quality study, drainage and irrigation
data analysis and concensus data studies were
carried out.
During 1977, the branch was designated as the
liaison point for activities vis-a-vis the British
Columbia Systems Corporation.
During 1977, the branch represented the British
Columbia Ministry of Agriculture on several
provincial, regional and national committees
relating to the work area. The branch participated
in meetings of the Canada Committee of Farm
Management Services, Canfarm Advisory Commit-
page twenty five
Most field crops enjoyed average or better than average
yields during 1977 due to generally favourable growing
Field Crops
|    , '^A^i^sj^'W,
^f . ,. -. •.'x^^whHHC
Regional specialists in field crop production,
weed control and range management are located
throughout the province as part of the Ministry of
Agriculture extension team. They provide
specialized knowledge on all aspects of feed and
range production as well as other crops such as
cereals, potatoes, oilseeds and forage seeds. The
branch is also responsible for administration of the
Weed Control Act. Applied research and demonstration work is carried out in all major agricultural areas.
In 1977, most of British Columbia enjoyed a
favourable growing season. Forage crop production was exceptionally good and haying and
harvesting conditions were generally favourable. In
the Peace River area, heavy spring rains delayed
seeding and early fall frosts caused considerable
damage to late seeded crops. However, the harvest
of all crops except alsike clover was completed by
freeze-up. Yields were close to average.
The total acreage of cereals in the province was
estimated at 336,000 acres with barley as the
major crop. Rapeseed acreage reached an all time
high at 85,000 acres. Grown exclusively in the
Peace River, this crop ranked second to barley in
terms of acreage. Hay production in the province
also set a record. Average yields of 2.8 tons per
acre from 670,000 acres were reported. Imports of
alfalfa from Washington reported at 140,000 tons
in 1976 are expected to be down sharply in 1977.
Silage corn acreage was down slightly to 21,000
acres with an average yield of 19.5 tons per acre.
Potato acreage totalled 11,295.
With few exceptions, prices received by farmers
continued to be unfavourable. Feed grain prices
were lower, local hay prices fell substantially and
potatoes have not recovered from the very low
price levels established in 1976. Rapeseed prices,
on the other hand, were remarkably buoyant and
certain forage crop seeds such as Creeping Red
Fescue and Timothy strengthened.
The establishment of a strong forage production base is the key to an expanding livestock
and dairy industry. With this in mind, the Field
Crops Branch has become heavily involved in
applied research designed to increase production
both in quantity and quality. For example, on
Vancouver Island, a split application of 120 lbs. of
nitrogen on irrigated hay produced 76 per cent
more hay than a check plot which had received no
nitrogen but equal amounts of other nutrients. In
the Lower Mainland, trials have indicated that the
use of any companion crop in the establishment of
forages is questionable and the use of annual
ryegrass tends to suppress establishment of under-
seeded grasses and legumes. Here also a project was
underway to compile data on manure composition, nutrient losses during handling and
optimum rates of application.
In the Southern Interior, a new Canadian
variety of alfalfa, Algonquin, performed equally to
commonly grown U.S. varieties and in the
Chilcotin the same variety seeded with Champ
Timothy produced 4.2 tons of dry matter per acre,
topping all other combinations. Work of a similar
nature was conducted at 40 sites throughout the
province. In addition, evaluation of silage corn
varieties was carried out on 22 farms situated
throughout the corn growing areas. As a result
there was a growing trend to the use of earlier
maturing varieties.
In range improvement activities, the concept of
co-ordinated resource management planning
gained acceptance by resource agencies and local
producer groups. Range specialists were heavily
involved in the Thompson-Okanagan and Cariboo
regions. The development and use of new range
seeding equipment has been an exciting experience. Approximately 1,700 acres were seeded in
197J. The possibilities for range improvement are
very great. For example, at Cache Creek, a 40-acre
site seeded to crested wheatgrass in 1970 produced
495 pounds of dry matter-per acre in 1977 as
compared to 66 pounds from unseeded range.
Work was also started on the evaluation of a
number of new dryland varieties of grasses for
range improvement.
The forage seed industry in British Columbia
appeared to be recovering from a period of
depressed prices. In recent years, the continuing
downward trend in acreage has been cause for
concern. The branch was active in promoting the
use of pedigreed seed and was responsible for the
distribution of substantial quantities of foundation
seed, particularly of Boreal fescue.
Weed control activities included some 65 weed
control trials conducted in 1977 throughout
British Columbia on corn, cereals, fruit and
vegetable crops, potatoes and range land. Assistance provided by the Ministry under the Weed
Control Act has resulted in excellent co-operative
projects in six regional districts and in one
municipality. Approximately $80,000 expended in
grants under this program resulted in a total
expenditure of $250,000 at the local level. Major
programs were for thistle control in the Southern
Interior. A number of other districts have expressed an interest in coming into the program in
1978. A knapweed seminar held at Kamloops in
October was well attended.
The use of remote sensing as a method of
determining the acreage of creeping red fescue in
the Peace is closer to becoming a reality as a result
of work done by this branch in the Peace. Infra
red photos of fescue fields were being correlated
with satellite reflectance data and a contract has
been issued by Agriculture Canada.
Potato projects included work on variety evaluation, fertility, foliar feeding, top kill and weed
control. The branch co-operated fully with the
Plant Quarantine and Research Divisions of
Agriculture Canada in the virus free seed program.
Seed sales of the 1976 crop amounted to 8,172
tons, half of which came from the Pemberton Seed
Potato Control Area. A seminar on potato storage
organized in co-operation with the British
Columbia Coast Vegetable Co-operative had a
marked effect in improving storage conditions.
However, the apparent inability of processors to
carry out contract commitments for processing
potatoes was of very great concern to all associated with the potato industry. An outbreak of the
dreaded Bacterial ring-rot disease on several farms
was also a cause for concern.
The branch was actively involved in more than
100 meetings, tours and field days involving
producers on topics such as forage production,
range management, weed control, rapeseed and
potato production. Staff was also heavily involved
in inter-agency resource planning, interprovincial
committees concerning a wide range of production
topics and the inter-ministry pesticide committee.
As in other years, a number of new publications
dealing with cropping recommendations were
page twenty seven
Horticulturists located throughout the province are
trained specifically to assist orchardists in fruit quality
and tree management.
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Producers of horticultural crops were favoured
in a number of ways in the 1977 growing season.
The winter was mild, the spring was open and the
warm summer produced many crops of excellent
quality. There was a strong demand for the
services of the Horticultural Branch staff to deal
with the more than 60 crops and the various
problems associated with growing, handling and
marketing of each.
Tree Fruits
The apple crop was down about 15 per cent
from the record 1976 level. Major reductions
occurred in the Mcintosh and Spartan varieties.
Main crop apple varieties showed excellent colour
as a result of cool weather in September and
October. Smaller apple crops in the Northwest and
in Europe together with the lower Canadian dollar
have created a continuing strong market for British
Columbia apples.
Pear production was close to the 1976 crop in
volume. Quality of the Bartlett crop was much
superior to 1976 because of higher temperatures in
August. Returns to growers for Bartletts are
expected to be an average of 5 cents per pound for
naked fruit — well below the cost of production.
This situation is leading to removal of Bartlett
trees in some areas and to greater emphasis on the
Anjou pear which now comprises about 40 per
cent of tree pear volume.
Approximately 19 million pounds of sweet
cherries were sold. This volume compares favourably with the larger crops of the past two years.
Due  to   the  absence  of  rain  and   the  excellent
growing weather, the quality of the 1977 crop was
unsurpassed. An exceptionally large share of this
crop went to the canners. Sales of sweet cherries
on the fresh market went well with the eastern
Canadian market taking 52 per cent of the British
Columbia Tree Fruit sales.
In the area serviced by the Penticton office,
304 cherry trees affected by Little Cherry were
found this year. The increase included 110 trees in
the Naramata area where symptoms had not
previously been discovered. A thorough tree removal, spray program, and microscopic leaf analysis is being carried out. A cherry seedling removal
project has been started by the Regional District
to eliminate possible sources of infection.
An exhaustive study into the causes of pitting
in sweet cherries was conducted by British
Columbia Tree Fruits with financial assistance of
I RAP and technical help from the Summerland
Research Station and the British Columbia
Ministry of Agriculture. The committee has made
a number of strong recommendations to the
Sour cherry sales continued to be good due
partly to a low crop in Michigan. All of the interim
product is sold direct to Sun-Rype at Kelowna.
Better than 50 per cent of the crop is harvested
mechanically using tree shakers.
The quantity of apricots marketed through the
Sales Agency has declined in the past three years.
The Skaha apricot, an introduction from the
Summerland Research Station breeding program,
was again market tested in the Edmonton market
and through a local cannery with favourable
results. However, canners still prefer the Tilton for
their use. The variety is now being recommended
for limited commerical planting.
The overall peach crop was about the same as in
1976. Quality was good although some hail and
split stones were seen. Marketing of the peach crop
took place in virtually the same areas of western
Canada as in the previous two years with little or
no fruit going east of Winnipeg. Good prices were
maintained throughout the season.
Of the crop 72 per cent was sold fresh while the
cannery took 26 per cent and 2 per cent went to
A test marketing of the Glohaven variety
indicated a favourable reaction from wholesalers
and retailers.
Prunes fell short of expectations owing to
heavy hail damage in the Oliver district and a
heavy June drop in the early strains. Quality was
good and "the price improved over the low years of
1975 and 1976.
Packinghouse field service staffs are being
strengthened and some trained to assume
additional duties including the provision of pest
management service to member growers. The
Horticultural Branch is giving full support to this
Promising results are being recorded in two
measures to reduce the levels of deer damage to
orchards. In the 1976-77 winter, feeding stations
established by Fish and Wildlife successfully intercepted deer in their movement toward orchards.
So far in the 1977-78 winter, orchard plots
sprayed with two repellents are suffering less
damage than unsprayed plots.
A program to make apple growers more aware
of improvements that are required in the nutritional status of their trees is underway. Problems
that were stressed included excessively high nitrogen levels and low zinc levels. In 1977 low boron
levels were discovered in some orchard soils
indicating a need for greater emphasis on soil
application of boron rather than foliar spray
The 1977 grape crop totalled 23,427,000
pounds. Of the crop 88.8 per cent was sold to
wineries (with some processed into juice) for an
average price of $0,157 per pound. Of the crop 5.2
per cent was sold fresh in baskets via British
Columbia Tree Fruits Ltd. for an average price of
$0,256 per pound and 6 per cent of the crop was
sold at the farm gate for an average price of $0.20
per pound. Despite persistent rumours and allegations of a surplus grape crop through the summer,
the vintage was handled easily and all the tonnage
sold. An improved fresh market was responsible
for removing much of the surplus to the point
where not enough Bath tonnage was available for
the new juice facility operated by Sun-Rype.
Growing conditions during the summer months
were favourable for a vintage grape crop. However,
cooler weather after mid-September prevented
northern vineyards from reaching optimum sugar
levels. Harvesting was favoured by dry pleasant
A great deal of experimentation and trial is
underway as the grape industry struggles to adapt
itself to the changing market demands of the late
1970's. Efforts are concentrated on the development of both fresh and process market outlets. In
addition, grape industry efforts to produce better
grape and broaden the industry base now involve
four co-operative projects with provincial and
federal government involvement. Variety testing
plots have begun to produce fruit for evaluation.
It was a good year for strawberry growers. The
plantings generally overwintered in good condition
and produced a crop with above average yields,
fruit size and quality. An increased demand at
improved prices was reported for off-the-farm sales
of both U-pick and prepicked strawberries. As in
1976, the grower price of processing strawberries
was set at 34.5 cents per pound. Recent increases
in plantings in the Abbotsford area have tended to
increase the concentration of the industry in this
Raspberry growers in the Fraser Valley had
what might be called a perfect year in 1977! A
total of 13,336,517 pounds of local fruit was
processed plus an additional 298,337 pounds
imported from Washington State. This marks the
first time since 1969 that U.S. berries have been
purchased by local processors. An additional
1,635,483 pounds of raspberries were estimated to
have been sold directly off farms or on the fresh
market. Growers report an increased demand for
off-the-farm sales of raspberries at favourable
prices while the price and demand for processing
fruit   set   new   records.   The   average   price   for
page twenty nine
processed raspberries is expected to approximate
52 cents per pound with a range of 47 cents to 55
cents. The increased demand and subsequent
record prices are directly attributable to crop
failures in other production areas.
The blueberry crop grew well with favourable
weather contributing to berries of good size and
flavour. Both sales and price were up due in part
to a partial crop failure in the eastern U.S.A. and
increasing world demand. Increasing blueberry
acreage may be expected over the next few years.
The cranberry crop was one of the largest ever.
Colour, size and general quality of the berries was
excellent. The weather contributed in great part to
the quality and size of the crop.
Approximately 30 acres remain in loganberries
on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The weather in 1977 was generally satisfactory
for vegetable production. Transplanting and
seeding were completed on schedule. Harvesting
started when normally expected or a little earlier.
Sudden heavy showers at the end of May and in
July caused some bunching of lettuce seedings at
time of harvest. The long hot dry spell during the
last half of July and August caused a lot of the
cauliflower crop that went in at the beginning of
this period to be poor in quality due to a lack of
moisture. This was not true where irrigation was
well managed. Heavy penetrating frost in early
October wiped out about 1500 tons of cabbage.
Prices at the time were $160 to $180 per ton.
Of the fresh market crops, Black Root Rot
disease in carrots added to Lateral Root Dieback
and Cavity Spot is causing growers to have second
thoughts about growing the crop.
A study of field packing of celery vs. shed or
central packing undertaken by the federal
Department of Agriculture showed a 50 cent to 75
cent higher return per carton for field packing.
However growers of celery voted against returning
to field packing recognizing it is hard to put a
price on the extra sales brought about by the sale
of a washed and uniform product.
A Horticultural Branch vegetable specialist
accompanied the Manager of the Cloverdale
Lettuce and Vegetable Co-op on a visit to lettuce
buyers on the Prairies where complaints were
received about the quality of British Columbia
Processing crops of peas, beans and corn gave
yields above average but cole crop production and
quality was hurt by the long hot dry spell during
August. The vegetable processing industry is in a
healthier position than in 1976. Inventories of a
number of products are down from 1976 and
prices for the finished product are up. Prices to the
grower on all products except corn increased. Most
growers had better than average growing and
harvesting conditions. Production of processing
carrots is still a disappointment.
A DATE project to find resistant varieties of
peas to a new race of pea wilt has been very
successful. Seed is being increased in Arizona.
Preliminary results from a corn nematode study
suggest nematodes are a problem in some fields
but poor farming techniques such as lack of
liming, low use of fertilizer, poor seedbed preparation, and poor seeder performance are the cause
of a number of poor corn stands.
In the Okanagan, field tomatoes and potatoes
showed increases over 1976 whereas asparagus was
down heavily due to neglect of one large field and
the dry spring weather. Peppers showed a marked
The Select Standing Committee on Agriculture
allowed a lot of people an opportunity to express
their views on problems. If data provided to the
research arm of the Committee on cost of production is updated each year, this will have been a
worthwhile endeavour.
Hail storms in the Oliver area and Curly Top
virus in the Ashcroft area limited production of
tomatoes in what would otherwise have been a
good year for this crop.
The British Columbia Interior was without the
services of a vegetable horticulturist for most of
1977. During this period the vegetable duties were
covered by other Interior horticulturists. The
position is expected to be filled in the new year.
Mushroom production for 1977 was extremely
good. Total production is expected to be about 11
million pounds, exceeding earlier predictions. Sales
of fresh mushrooms were good on both local and
prairie markets. Supply of fresh mushrooms
exceeded demand during the last quarter. Stocks
of canned mushrooms were at an all time high at
year end. Importation of canned mushrooms is
still of great concern to local producers.
Nursery Crops
The nursery industry continued to expand
during 1977 with annual sales estimated at over
$15 million. British Columbia nursery stock is now
being sold in Quebec and Ontario. The Plant
Protection Advisory Council was active in
improving the European Pine Shoot Moth certification program and instituting a Balsam Woolly
Aphid certification program. The council played a
major role in convincing Agriculture Canada that a
Pear Trellis Rust certification program would be a
wise move. Weed control in container grown
nursery stock by use of herbicides is now a reality.
More trials with positive results were carried out in
A Tissue Analysis project was carried out to
obtain target levels for nutrients in ornamental
plant tissue. Diagnosis of nutrition problems has
been difficult as soilless media cannot be analyzed
through our Soil Feed and Tissue Test Laboratory.
Nematodes are a problem in some nurseries.
Trials for controlling nematodes other than by
fumigation were carried out. Biological control of
Crown Gall is being tried at three nurseries in the
Fraser Valley. Propagation under mist was tried
for some hard-to-root ornamental species in the
BCMA greenhouse at Cloverdale.
The 1978 Nursery Production Guide was
written and will be distributed to growers in early
spring. This will be the first official Nursery Guide
published in British Columbia for general distribution.
Production of apple, cherry, prune and plum
nursery stock is increasing and is decreasing in
peach and apricot. Bud failure is partly to blame
for the decline in production of peach trees. As a
result of continued shortages of nursery trees,
more growers are looking at contract growing
particularly as a means of supplying peach trees
and many growers are turning to American
nurseries for supplies. Of all trees produced in
1977, 64.4 per cent were apples, 22 per cent were
cherries and only 0.6 per cent were apricots. The
major varieties of apple trees being grown are
Mcintosh (20 per cent), Spur Mcintosh (20.4 per
cent), Spur Red Delicious (18.2 per cent), Spartan
(17.9 per cent) and standard growth Red Delicious
(13 per cent). M26 is the most popular apple
rootstock followed closely by Seedling.
Although Okanagan nurseries are increasing
their production of apple, cherry and prune trees
they are still mindful of the industry slump in the
early 1970's when thousands of surplus trees had
to be burned. Diversification into the production
of ornamentals in the Interior has accelerated.
Greenhouse Crops
The greenhouse industry is becoming aware of
the impact of higher energy costs and the possibility of shortages in the future. Tentative moves
are being made regarding energy conservation
whereas strong moves are being made to increase
production in greenhouse vegetables which will
reduce the unit energy inputs.
There is a move away from tomato production
due to the low returns for this crop. Markets for
flowers have been strong. Production of seasonal
crops such as poinsettias is greater than ever.
Flower crops that are new to this area are of
increasing interest. Freesias, gerberas and
alstromeria are all cool temperature crops which
add variety to the existing array.
r                 ^i. _        *"***■«* -
&      *
Energy conservation in greenhouses related to crop yields
received strong attention.
Allotment Gardens
The Allotment Garden Program was maintained
in 1977 in the Victoria and Vancouver areas. The
gardening season was a very successful one. There
continues to be a fairly large turnover of plot-
holders as some people find the work involved is
more than they anticipated although it is estimated that only three to four hours per week are
required to keep a plot in top condition. There are
in excess of 1,500 plots operated by the Ministry
in the two areas.
page thirty one
Although overall markets were still somewhat depressed
in 1977, there was a marked improvement from 1976
One large beef marketing agency reports
increases in overall prices for beef cattle during
1977 to be $5 - $7 per head over the previous
year. This represents a total increase of almost 23
per cent on all classes of cattle sold. The Panorama
Sales held in September averaged about 2 cents per
pound increase over the previous year.
The Conagra beef marketing facility opened at
Kamloops on October 1. This facility is the most
modern of its kind in Canada and the Northwestern United States.
The new ARDA agreement should visibly assist
in assuring an improved range resource for the beef
industry in British Columbia.
The beef industry is re-examining its position
with respect to further developing capabilities for
backgrounding and finishing of many of the calves
it presently exports. The first phase of this
development was reached in early December with
the staging of an invitational seminar under the
direction of the chairman of the Agricultural
Economics Council of Canada. Findings of the
seminar will be examined early in the new year to
further explore feasibility studies and hopefully
develop a strategy to further develop backgrounding and finishing of beef cattle within the
The total number of beef producers enrolled in
the Beef R.O.P. Program decreased to 202 in 1977
from 210 in 1976. However, total numbers of
cattle on test were up by 533 head to 8,879. The
"management rating" system developed by the
branch and presented to the industry and staff
during the year is unique in Canada.
The swine industry, although continuing to be
small in relation to potential markets in the
province, experienced a trying year. While overall
prices of between 56 and 65 cents per pound
(basis 100 index hogs) were reasonable, some
severe market problems were caused by Intercontinental Packers closing their slaughter facility
for hogs in early June. While alternative slaughter
facilities existed in the province, these did not
have adequate market access to dispose of the
product. After considerable turmoil, the situation
has eased by Intercontinental again commencing
slaughter during the latter part of the year. The
condition for reopening was dependent on a
weekly minimum supply of 600 hogs per week.
Under the A.R.D.S.A. sub-agreement, a comprehensive study into the British Columbia hog
industry was approved. It is expected this will be
concluded by mid-1978. The report should provide a basis for future development of the
Late in 1977, the Swine Record of Performance
Program was established. British Columbia had
been unable to  provide an official test program
page thirty two
Specialists at the Soil, Feed and Tissue Testing Laboratory at Kelowna examine feed samples for nutritional
quality as submitted by farmers.
since ultra sonic backfat probing replaced scalpel
probing some four years ago.
The hog quality program continues to demonstrate that between 70 and 80 per cent of British
Columbia slaughtered hogs have been produced by
less than 27 producers during the years 1971 -
Prices for lambs in the province ranged between
50 to 60 cents per pound live weight. The Sheep
and Wool Commission has been active and met
with the ministry in December to discuss major
areas of concern.
The branch was represented by appropriate
personnel at the National Sheep R.O.P. meeting in
Ottawa in February; the National Beef R.O.P.
meeting in Guelph in June; the Canadian Milk
Recording Board meetings at Ottawa in April, and
Toronto in November; and the Canadian Council
of Animal Nutrition meeting at Winnipeg in
The British Columbia Dairy Herd Improvement
program records received formal approval of the
Canadian Milk Recording Board retroactive to
November 30, 1976. Programming is still under
way by the British Columbia Data Systems to
accommodate the program. Present enrollment in
the program is 565, down some 57 from a year
ago. However, total cows on test are up by 1,685
to 33,804. Average herd size has increased slightly
more than five cows per herd in the last year, and
stands at 60.8 cows per herd at year end. Average
production at 14,253 pounds of milk and 518
pounds of fat represents an increase of 371 pounds
of milk and 13 pounds of butterfat over the
previous year.
The dairy industry reports favourably on the
use of a "British Columbia modified" Canfarm
Feed Advisory Service. Other livestock producers
are also increasing their use of the Feed Advisory
Service provided by the branch.
Some gains were achieved in encouraging
Regional Districts to assume the function of dog
control and domestic animal protection. It is
expected the results of ministry effort in this
direction will be more visible during 1978.
page thirty three
Poultry prices during 1977 remained similar to 1976
prices. The egg, chicken and turkey industries are under
supply-management systems in Canada.
The poultry industry over the past few years
has developed a highly organized marketing system
through initially the provincial commodity boards,
and followed by national marketing agencies. All
egg and turkey marketing now comes under the
jurisdiction of the national agencies with their
attendant quota allotments to the provinces for
production of product in keeping with market
The Egg Agency (CEMA) also sets the price to
be paid to producers for eggs. It bases this price on
a formula which takes into consideration the costs
involved in production. Regarding the Turkey
Marketing Board and the Broiler Marketing Board,
prices are set for product at the local level. Again
costs of production are taken into account.
It is understandable that prices to producers of
all poultry products remain favourable with a
stable price structure. The weighted price for all
grades and sizes of eggs paid to producers in 1977
was 69.1 cents per dozen; a decrease of .05 cents
from 1976 prices due mainly to lower feed costs.
Chicken meat prices for broiler chicken remained
at 371/2 cents throughout 1977, the same price as
in 1976. Turkey prices to producers averaged 48
cents per pound live weight, an increase of one
cent from 1976.
As the egg industry and turkey industry are
controlled by national agencies (CEMA and
CTMA) import restrictions are in effect for these
commodities with import permits only being
issued when a shortage appears. Discussions have
been under way for some time regarding a national
broiler agency. Impetus to its formation resulted
from continued increases of chicken imports from
the U.S. The importation of a quantity of chicken
by a British Columbia food chain caused the
British Columbia Broiler Board to change their
viewpoint and actively support the formation of a
broiler agency.
Only the egg industry at the outset contracted
with the ministry to receive benefits under the
Farm Income Assurance Program. Since producer
returns were at or above the negotiated cost of
production, no payments were made in 1977
resulting in several discussions with the ministry to
withdraw from the program. While the entire
poultry industry is valued at over $80 million at
the farmgate, only a small portion of the industry,
the broiler breeders, has received payments from
the Farm Income Assurance Program.
The egg industry increased production in
British Columbia because of a three per cent
increase in CEMA quota allotment to the province
in 1976. However, due largely to increased per
bird production, there was an increase in surplus
product that was removed from the fresh market
by the CEMA buy-back program. This buy-back
program purchased about 340,000 boxes (15
dozen each) from British Columbia, an increase of
18.8 per cent over 1976. Because of the rising cost
to producers of this program, CEMA ordered a
cut-back in global quota of approximately five per
The Poultry branch staff consists of specialists
in egg production, chicken meat production,
turkey and hatching egg production and diseases
of poultry. This staff works closely with primary
producers in their respective fields of production
expertise mainly on a person to person basis.
Specialists not only assist with current production
problems but also meet with associations, act on
committees and generally promote economical
production. They also act as a liaison with the
respective marketing boards and organize and
conduct a Poultry Conference and various short
Using the facilities of the Poultry Test Station,
the staff members plan and conduct projects of an
experimental nature to find answers to current
problems in the industry. Projects were initiated to
test the genetic potential of various strains of
egg-laying and meat-producing chickens and
turkeys as a guide to producers in British
Columbia. A project to study the practicability of
housing broiler breeders in cages using artificial
insemination was conducted. Many short-term
projects were undertaken such as an investigation
as to the cause of "clubbed down" in day-old
broiler chicks, the most profitable time to market
"extended Tom" turkeys and the effects of
intermittent light periods on laying hens. This
project work provides considerable information to
producers at little cost to government. The test
station in the period December 1, 1976 to
December 1, 1977 returned $73,741 to provincial
revenues from the sale of poultry products, an
income which covered most of the costs of
Poultry diseases continue to be a major factor
in the economical production of poultry products.
With the poultry industry heavily concentrated in
a relatively small area in the Lower Mainland (over
80 per cent of all poultry in British Columbia),
disease problems must be closely monitored. The
poultry veterinarian and other Poultry Branch
staff work closely with the Veterinary Laboratory
and practising veterinarians in monitoring disease
levels and establishing control programs.
With the rather sudden increase in interest in
the production of rabbit meat on a commercial
basis, the staff of the branch has had to gather
more knowledge on this animal. As little studies
have been made on -feeding, management and
housing of this species, it is difficult to supply the
information required. It remains to be seen if this
form of livestock production will become a significant factor in meat production.
The Poultry Branch staff is closely associated
with   the   poultry   and   rabbit   production  com
pare thirty five
munity through their association as well as individual producers. Dissemination of information
derived from experimental and demonstrational
projects is accomplished by direct contact and
group meetings.
Financial Services
page thirty seven
Over $3 million was allocated to farmers for land clearing
and secondary land development under long term low
interest loans in 1977.
The Acts administered by this branch include
the Agricultural Credit Act and the Agricultural
Land Development Act. Financial assistance is
available to eligible farm operators and may be
detailed as follows:
(a) a provincial government guarantee to chartered banks or credit unions as supplemental
security on loans to farmers;
(b) partial reimbursement of the interest paid to
approved lenders to effectively reduce the
cost of farm loans;
(c) incentives to farmers through credit programs
which may take the form of special interest
reimbursement and/or loan principal reimbursement, to encourage the participation in
specific programs identified by the province;
(d) direct loans to a maximum of $15,000 for
primary and secondary land development.
Guaranteed Loan Program
There have been 200 guarantees to banks and
credit unions approved by the province since the
inception of this program in July, 1974. The total
loans guaranteed were $17,037,492. In 1977,
identified as loan period 4, there were 27 loans
guaranteed aggregating $2,886,300.
In 1977, one claim in the amount of $59,834
was made on the province under the guarantee
Partial Interest Reimbursement Program
In 1977, there was $7,548,839 paid to farmers
representing partial reimbursement of interest paid
by them in 1976 to approved lenders. The
approved lenders include chartered banks, credit
unions, Farm Credit Corporation, Federal Business
Development Bank and the Director of Veterans'
Land Act. The effect of this reimbursement has
been to reduce the farmers' net interest costs to
approximately eight per cent on those loans not
guaranteed by the province and to approximately
8/2 per cent where a guarantee under the Agricultural Credit Act has been put in place to a bank
or credit union.
Special Programs
Peace River Livestock
Production Incentive Program
In 1977, through this program, 82 farmers
received special interest reimbursement benefits
totalling $39,1 38. This represented reimbursement
of a portion of their interest costs paid in 1976
and had the effect of reducing interest costs to
approximately four to 41/2 per cent.
The intent of this program is to encourage
diversification among grain farmers in the Peace
River area to produce livestock in addition to
cereal crops and thus broaden their income potential.
Agricultural Land
Development Act (ALDA)
In 1977 there were 498 contracts issued. These
contracts totalled $3,074,015. This direct loan
program is to assist farmers in financing the cost of
primary and secondary land development.
page thirty nine
The forage-livestock sector is seen as the area of most
potential for agricultural growth in this province. Programs to accomplish this will be implemented under a
five-year $60 million ARDA agreement signed in mid-
and Rural
General ARDA
During the year the ARDA agreement with the
federal Department of Regional Economic Expansion underwent several major changes.
On March 31, 1977 the 1975-77 ARDA agreement expired and negotiations continued on a new
agreement. In June an extension of the 1975-77
agreement was signed to July 31 to enable ARDA
to proceed with a number of projects awaiting
On July 8, 1977, at a formal ceremony in
Vancouver a new five-year Agriculture and Rural
Development Subsidiary Agreement was signed
between British Columbia and Canada effective
August 1, 1977. The major thrust in this agreement is towards improvement and intensification
of the beef cattle industry in British Columbia. Of
the total of $60 million shared funding (50 per
cent province, 50 per cent Canada) provided in the
agreement, $19 million is allocated to improvement of crown range, $15 million is set aside for
irrigation and drainage, $20 million is designated
for support services and community development
including food processing plants, market outlet
facilities, veterinary clinics, rural hydro, beef feed
lots and other service facilities to assist primary
production. A total of $5 million is earmarked for
research including project evaluation, feasibility
studies,   forward   planning,   market  development
and includes management and manpower training
The main programs of ARDA for the year
continued to be in the areas of irrigation systems,
drainage and range improvement through Coordinated Resource Management Planning. The
major projects on irrigation systems are nearing
completion so future years will see a lesser demand
on ARDA funds in this area. Range improvement
projects have greatly increased during the year
with major work being carried out in the
Kootenay and Kootenay Boundary Region, the
Thompson Okanagan Region and the Cariboo
Region. In all regions some 50 co-ordinated
resource management plans for range improvement
are in various stages of implementation. Coordinated resource management plans are being
prepared in the Peace River region to complement
the development of community pastures in that
Since the announcement of the new agreement,
many more applications have been received and
are being processed for projects on meat
processing plants, fruit and vegetable processing
plants, veterinary clinics, rural hydro, research
projects and in the support services area.
During 1977, approval was given for 42 projects
with a total capital investment of $16,857,404.
The ARDA-contribution to these projects will be
$10,011,668 shared equally between the province
and the federal Department of Regional Economic
In each ARDA project there is a requirement of
local contribution varying with the type of project
from 10 per cent of the total cost for community
pastures and range improvement, 25 per cent for
irrigation and drainage projects, to 50 per cent for
rural development projects.
Summary of General ARDA Approved Projects
January 1,1977 to December 31,1977
No. of
Total Cost
Land Use and Farm Adjustment
Rural Development Service & Training
Alternate Income & Employment Opportunities
Irrigation, Drainage & Water Supply
Miscellaneous (Special ARDA)
page forty one
The alfalfa crop insurance program was extended to cover
alfalfa crops grown throughout the province. Coverage in
the swath was also introduced in 1977.
The function of the Crop Insurance Branch is
to administer the British Columbia Crop Insurance
Act and to promote the maximum participation
by eligible farmers in the various crop insurance
programs that are offered.
The weather in 1977 was as variable as usual.
The winter was relatively mild with less than
normal snowfalls.
In the Peace River district the dry spell at the
commencement of seeding gave way to a prolonged period of rain which delayed further work
and resulted in more acres than usual going
unseeded. Subsequent hail storms caused widespread damage in the North Peace. Harvesting was
delayed by frequent rains through the latter half
of September and early October.
In the Okanagan the weather was favourable to
the production of fruit crops until severe hail
storms in July damaged fruit crops in Creston and
Early frosts at the beginning of October caused
a little damage to grapes.
The alfalfa program was extended to cover
alfalfa crops grown throughout the province which
resulted in a small increase in participation to 31
growers. Coverage in the swath was introduced,
which was a welcome improvement over the
previous plan.
With a view to gaining information regarding
the feasibility of establishing some form of quality
guarantee for hay damaged in the swath, soluble
nutrient levels were measured after hay had been
in the swath for a minimum period of seven days
and again when the hay was picked up. The
difference in soluble protein was considered to be
a possible way of measuring a loss in quality.
Participation in the berry program continues to
expand with 79 applications accepted for 1977.
Berry crops came through the winter in good
condition with the exception of a number of
strawberry plantings where herbicide damage
resulted in excessive plantkill.
Participation in the grain program was down by
10 per cent in 1977 to 506 growers from 562 in
1976. This decline in participation is considered to
be a reflection of reduced grain prices coupled
with the uncertainties of a generally weak
economic climate. In response to a request from
the Grain Crop Insurance Advisory Committee, an
extension of seeding deadlines to June 20 was
made for barley and rapeseed. An additional 7,500
acres were seeded within the new deadline,
bringing the total to 152,000 acres insured, a
reduction of 19 per cent from 1976.
The grape program remains in a strong position
with only a few claims recorded for 1977. These
were for light crops aggravated in some instances
page forty two
by hail damage. As a result of the introduction of
the loss experience ratio table, growers with the
most regular cropping experience now enjoy the
lowest premiums available under the provincial
crop insurance program.
There was little change in participation in the
tree fruit program for this year. Severe hail storms
hit Creston and then the Oliver areas with lighter
storms hitting Osoyoos and Cawston at the height
of the peach and apricot harvesting season. In the
worst hit areas damage to these crops was severe,
with apples also suffering heavy damage. Some
growers who had opted for hail spot loss were able
to receive 100 per cent indemnities.
Following losses to the field bean crops in
1976, a vegetable program to insure beans was
prepared and a high proportion of the seeded
acreage was covered. The growing season was
favourable and all insureds met their production
Crop insurance has again demonstrated that it is
a most useful and effective service available to the
farming community by rendering prompt compensation to the heavily hailed areas of Creston, Oliver
and the Peace River district.
page forty three
Raspberry producers were one of two commodities given
farm income assurance programs during 1977. The other
group was potato producers, thus bringing to 12 the total
number of commodities now covered under farm income
Farm Income
In the fourth year of operation the number of
Farm Income Assurance Programs increased to 12
from 10 in 1976/77. The number of participants
increased to over 5,700. Programs were in place
for dairy, swine, tree fruits (6), field tomatoes,
greenhouse vegetables, broiler hatching eggs, beef,
commercial eggs, sheep, blueberries, raspberries
and potatoes. Programs for processing and a
number of fresh vegetables as well as strawberries
are under active consideration. Cost to government
during the 1977 calendar year (not fiscal year)
covered in this report is approximately $32
Payments under the federal Aaricultural Stabilization Act were made to British Columbia producers on the 1976 crop for cherries, apricots,
pears, prunes and potatoes, many of whom are
participating in Farm Income Assurance Programs.
There is some possibility of a payment to cow/calf
ranchers for their 1977 crop.
While the A.S.A. payments are much appreciated by both the producers and the provincial
government, the tardiness of the federal government in announcing that payments will be made
under the Agricultural Stabilization Act causes
either a protracted delay in issuing Farm Income
Assurance settlements or an interim payment and
a subsequent final payment adjusting for the
A.S.A. influence on the Farm Income Assurance
This situation was especially evident in payments proposed for the 1976 potato crop, which
have yet to be finalized at time of writing.
The tree fruit program terminates with the
settlement of claims on the 1977 crop and several
other programs terminate in 1978. In order to
consider the future of farm income stabilization
policies, the Minister commissioned a review of
farm income stabilization in British Columbia by
S. C. Hudson, Consulting Economist. The report
filed with the Minister and the British Columbia
Federation of Agriculture is being studied by both
the Ministry and the Federation for consultation
early in 1978 on the format of new stabilization
In the dairy program, the market return
exceeded the cost of production from early
summer until the present and requests by participants to withdraw from the program as provided
for in the regulations have been received in
November and December. These participants have
decided that the market return and cost of
production relationship will be maintained into
the future and it is to their benefit to pay the
obligation of the forward premiums. The extent of
withdrawal cannot be forecast.
The commercial egg program has built up a
fund surplus of over $800,000 and negotiations
are proceeding with intent to suspend or cancel
the program.
page forty four
The market return for the 1977 blueberry and
raspberry crops is expected to be above the cost of
production and no indemnities will be payable.
In the beef program the market return has
improved over previous years, but will still require
a sizable indemnity payment. Agreement was
reached with producers to increase the premium
sufficiently to clear the accumulated deficit.
A comment on benefits other than the direct
payments to producers is appropriate as some of
the programs approach maturity. Payments to
participants have in many cases been invested in
improved production facilities. This is obvious in
the dairy industry. In the beef industry the herds
have been maintained and breeding stock
upgraded, placing producers in a good position to
capitalize on the eventual return to normal market
conditions. In the tree fruit industry it is doubtful
that the producers' organization and stability of
the industry would have survived without the
influence of the Farm Income Assurance inputs. In
the supply managed commodities of eggs and dairy
it can be speculated that an ad hoc program to
meet the stresses of the early 1970's might have
been sufficient.
page forty five
Potatoes are unloaded from a truck at a Grand Forks
potato plant modernized with funds under the Farm
Products Finance program.
Farm Products
Thirty-six requests were received for financial
assistance for new projects or from agricultural
processing firms experiencing financial difficulties.
After financial analysis of the requests eight
organizations received grants totalling approximately $660,000; six were not assisted; 12 were
referred to the Agricultural and Rural Development (ARDA) program, as the more appropriate
program; and 10 are currently under financial
review. In addition six agricultural organizations
requested grants to reduce their interest costs of
which four were assisted with grants totalling
approximately $50,000. The remaining two are
still under review. No loans or loan guarantees
were made.
Early in the year arrangements were completed
for the sale of the Creston facilities of Swan Valley
Foods Ltd. to the Hardee Farms organization.
Near year-end the Swan Valley company and its
remaining assets were sold to Standard Brands of
Canada Ltd. At the same time arrangements were
started to sell the government's investment in
Panco Poultry Ltd. and this is expected to be
completed during 1978.
A number of companies previously assisted
through loan guarantees had financial difficulties
and required special attention. These included
Chef Ready Foods Ltd. and Fraser Valley Organics
Ltd. This work is continuing.
Considerable time was given to the continued
examination of the financial circumstances of
Spetifore Frozen Foods Ltd. By year-end the
company's financial position had not improved
and the future of this operation remains very
much in doubt.
Financial assistance for market development
purposes continued to be provided to the British
Columbia Raspberry Growers' Association, British
Columbia Coast Vegetable Marketing Board and
the British Columbia Grape Growers' Association.
This assistance was provided jointly with Agriculture Canada through their Agricultural Products
Marketing Program (AGMAP). Significant benefits
were obtained from the programs carried out by
these organizations.
Late in the year arrangements were completed
for the branch to assist the Agricultural and Rural
Development Branch in the financial analysis of
requests for grants involving the processing of
agricultural products.
page forty six
Technical booklets on a variety of agricultural topics are
produced for primarily commercial farmers to assist them
in production techniques.
1977 was a year for policy change in the
function of the Information Branch. The branch
assumed a more public relations oriented role in
addition to its designated function as a communications resource centre for ministry staff. The
branch continued to assist field office staff in
providing audio-visual aids, publications, pamphlets and advertisements to them for extension
Press releases issued by the Information Branch
are mailed to approximately 1,500 media, industry
and government representatives across Canada.
They continued to play an important part in the
overall information dissemination of ministry
programs, statements by the Minister and staff
appointments. A total of 54 news releases were
issued during the year.
Ministry of Agriculture publications are provided free to British Columbia residents, covering a
variety of subjects ranging from financial management to cultural techniques in crop production.
Numerous publications are also available only to
4-H Club members throughout the province.
During 1977, 68 individual publications or pamphlets were processed through the Information
Branch as new publications, revisions or reprints.
Advertisements are placed by the Information
Branch throughout the year to create farmer
awareness of specific Ministry services, seminars,
programs or events. A total of 16 individual
advertisements were placed in agricultural publications, weekly newspapers or special event catalogues during 1977. Advertisements promoted
such programs as agricultural credit, the importance of pedigreed seed, crop insurance, farm
vacations, youth development, irrigation workshops, among others.
A series of subject matter factsheets are produced as needed and are mailed to individual
farmers on a mailing list or to the commodity
organization concerned for distribution. During
1977, three new factsheets were started, namely
Field    Crop    Facts,    Agrimarket    Reporter   and
Poultry Facts. Existing factsheets include Stock
Talk (for Livestock), Farm Business Management,
Animal Health Information, Engineering Notes
and Grower Notes (for Horticulture).
The Information Branch's film unit at Kelowna
continued to produce photographs, slide-tape and
film presentations for use primarily by Ministry of
Agriculture staff. A total of 11 slide-tape and five
16mm film presentations were prepared during the
year. Also, five 30-second public service announcements for television were produced to illustrate
the effects of all-terrain vehicles on ranges.
In addition to airing the Fruit Growers' Television Shortcourse in early 1977, extensive filming
was also completed during the summer and fall for
the February 1978 annual production. Extensive
filming was done for television specials dealing
with forage handling techniques and farm management procedures. These will be aired during 1978.
The Information Branch was involved in a
number of displays during the year, the largest of
which was the display at the British Columbia
Federation of Agriculture Convention.
The public relations function of the branch
primarily involves the preparation of speech
material for the Minister, media contact, writing
feature stories on aspects of British Columbia
agriculture, photography and other audio-visual
aids. This function will expand in the coming year.
page forty seven
Poultry barns are under construction as improvements to
a farm in the Langley area, one of 112 such properties
under the branch's control.
i^SCk"";»« --$J5
The administration section of the branch is now
totally located at Langley, with the office previously located in Victoria being closed early in
The property management program has undergone a progressive adjustment, which reflects the
changing policies of the British Columbia Land
Commission, including increased tenant ownership
of improvements and the addition of option to
purchase clauses in the newly written leases, which
qualifies tenants for ALDA loans. A master agreement between the Land Commission and the
federal Industrial Development Bank provides for
tenant access to loans for building improvement.
To achieve uniformity, the British Columbia
Assessment Authority has requested that tenants
be directly responsible for the payment of taxes
commencing with the 1978 tax year.
Because of the continuing demand for land
there has been a recent review of the Ministry of
Highway properties to determine if there are any
additional parcels which would be suitable for
certain types of agricultural production. A recommendation concerning this matter will be forwarded to the Land Commission early in the new
Two meetings were held during the year with
staff of the Land Commission to review procedures and amendments to associated legislation
which   has  resulted   in   improvements  to  on-site
reporting and effected minor changes to tenant
selection techniques.
At the present time there is a total of 112
properties under control and management of the
branch. These are comprised of 22 Greenbelt, 46
Land Commission and 44 Ministry of Highways
parcels. During the year the Windeyer Property -
No. 29, was transferred to the Ministry of the
Provincial Secretary for the amalgamation with an
adjacent property operated by the British
Columbia Forestry Museum.
Field staff have had a busy year working with
tenants to assist them with the planning portion of
their enterprises and preparing technical reports as
requested by the Land Commission and other
Government agencies. The development of the 28
new farm units in the Langley Farms complex has
required considerable attention. Two of these
units are being reserved for possible co-operative
use of the Ministries of Agriculture and Education,
along with other agricultural agencies.
The programs associated with specific project
properties have made normal progress and include
the Effluent Disposal program at Vernon; the
Corrections Branch rehabilitation program at the
Pearce Ranch; and the Ecological Reserve development on the Hays-Christison-Shaw property at
The branch farm operations at Colony Farm,
oaoe forty eight
Tranquille Farm and the East Kootenay Ranches
have carried on during 1977 on substantially the
same basis as the immediately preceding years.
The initial steps have been taken to fulfill the
desire of the Ministry to develop increased cooperative use of the branch operated farm properties. Projects involving the University of British
Columbia and Agriculture Canada are in the
planning stages or are already under way.
page forty nine
Specialist Services
page fifty one
Although total dairy farms in the province decreased by
50 to 1,217 at year end, total milk production increased
by 3 per cent from 1976 levels.
Metrication of the dairy industry was the major
event of the year. Coincidental with the adoption
of metric measure was the change in the basis of
payment from weight to volume. Since August 1,
1977 dairymen have been selling milk by the litre
rather than by the pound. Butterfat is now
reported as kilograms per hectolitre.
Total milk production increased by 3 per cent
to 449 million litres. At year end the number of
approved dairy farms was 1,217. This is a decrease
of 50 during the year compared to -70 in 1976 and
-26 in 1975.
Fluid sales increased by 2.5 per cent during the
January to November period. This is a significant
recovery compared to sales during the past two
years. Butter production decreased by 11.5 per
cent, to 5,656,000 pounds from 6.4 million
pounds. Cheddar cheese production decreased by
5 per cent to just over 3 million pounds. Ice cream
mix production was up 9 per cent to 4,270,000
Farm cash receipts from dairying are estimated
to be $114 million during 1977. This figure is
speculative in that the income assurance program
has required a pay back in recent months, and at
time of writing the federal levy on fluid milk sales
had not been finalized.
The federal dairy policy implemented on April
1    reduced   the   provincial   market   share   quota
allotment to 10.7 million pounds of butterfat
from 11 million pounds. The in-quota levy was
reduced to $1.20 from $1.35 per cwt., thus
increasing the net subsidy payment per cwt. and
maintaining stabilization income at approximately
the 1976 level. Over-quota levy was reduced to
$7.00 from $8.40 per cwt. But the equivalent to a
25 cent levy per cwt. on fluid sales was added to
cover storage and handling charges on excess
butterfat from this sector.
Dairy farm premise and dairy plant inspections,
aided by the analytical services of the central dairy
laboratory, continued to ensure that consumers
had high quality dairy products. Amendments to
the Milk Industry Act authorized cash penalties to
producers of sub-quality milk in lieu of shut-off
from the fluid market.
The branch continued to provide an expanded
milking equipment analysis program. Inspectors
are equipped with instruments to check vacuum
fluctuations, air flow, temperature variations and
for the presence of transient voltage. This program
is a major component of the developing Mastitis
Prevention Program.
Branch personnel assisted the dairy industry in
many phases of metric conversion. Some of these
(1) to arrange for a litre chart to replace the
existing pound chart for every producer's
bulk tank
Seven-Year Production/Fluid Utilization Summary for Milk Board Areas
Millions of Litres
Per Cent of
Per Cent of
1977 (est.)
(2) developing an acceptable calibration accuracy
tolerance table for bulk tanks
(3) calibration of laboratory equipment to report
analytical results in metric units
(4) assist dairy plant personnel with conversion
by providing the appropriate factors
(5) establishing a metric density of each finished
fluid product for Milk Board audit purposes
(6) adjust levies for Dairy Products Promotional
Fund and Diary Producers' Protection Fund
to apply to metric units, etc.
By year end all processing plants where non-
returnable containers are used had completely
adopted metric containers. One processing plant
and three raw milk vendors continue to use
Imperial measure returnable containers.
page fifty three
With the assistance of funding under the DA TE program,
one of the most advanced range reseeders in North
America was developed by Ministry of Agriculture staff.
A total of 2,000 acres were seeded experimentally during
The DATE (Demonstration of Agricultural
Technology and Economics) Program continued in
1977 as a very effective tool to support projects
aimed at demonstrating new advances in agricultural technology.
Achievements that merit special note:
(1) the continued development of one of the
most advanced pieces of equipment in North
America to disc and reseed rangeland
(2) the discovery and propagation of a variety of
field peas that is resistant to pea wilt — a
disease that threatened the industry in 1975
(3) an investigation of 3 virus incidents on British
Columbia poultry farms with subsequent
recommendations for control
(4) the monitoring of selenium deficiencies in
livestock feeds on Vancouver Island with
future recommendations to correct this
problem. The involvement of 4-H members in
the collection of feed samples provided a new
dimension to extension work and the 4-H
(5) the development of more realistic irrigation
design criteria on the Nicomekl-Serpentine
floodplain that should reduce the cost of
irrigation schemes
(6) the development and use of sophisticated
analytical tools to determine optimum and
maximum manure fertilizer rates in environmentally sensitive situations
(7)   the assessment of more effective laboratory
techniques   for   determining   livestock   feed
Additional    noteworthy    achievements    are
recorded  in a publication titled "1977 D.A.T.E.
page fifty four
Engineering specialists in the Ministry designed a heavy-
duty range/and discer and reseeder. They put on field
days to show ranchers how it performs.
The branch continued to provide engineering
advisory services to the agricultural industry in
1977 from four locations: Victoria, Abbotsford,
Vernon and Prince George.
Irrigation development is continuing throughout the province although insufficient water supplies are becoming a major limitation in many
areas. Water use in one such area, the Nicomekl-
Serpentine floodplain in Surrey, was investigated
to determine if design criteria for water supply
might be reduced without significant loss in
production. In the Interior an evaluation project
on large volume "giant gun" sprinklers was completed. Results of these projects will be useful in
improving design criteria.
Implementation of projects under the ARDA
Farm Drainage Outlet Assistance Program resulted
in improvements to over 3,500 acres of farmland.
Seven projects were completed in areas from
Abbotsford to Salmon Arm. A five-year drainage
research project in the Fraser Valley, also funded
through ARDA, was completed on a positive note;
/ield increases due to drainage of over 40 per cent
vere recorded on the Matsqui site.
Surveys covering 800 acres of Interior native
meadows resulted in plans for water management
Over 500 farmers were given significant
engineering assistance through the farm building
and waste management advisory service. Although
the number of complete new dairy farmsteads was
down from the previous year, building activity
remained high in ancillary structures notably
bunker silos, milking parlors and manure storages.
The number of building plans and complete
farmstead plans for the swine industry increased
sharply during the year. Several plans were prepared for beef producers, particularly for feed
storage and feeding facilities. The farm building
planning service was improved during the year by a
major updating of the Plan Catalogue and building
handbook, and by significant revisions and
improvements to a number of key building plan
Agricultural engineers were involved in
developing the Green Zone concept aimed at
reducing urban-rural conflicts related to intensive
livestock operations. This program was closely
co-ordinated with the Agricultural Environmental
Control Program where producers police themselves in maintaining proper waste handling practices.
The development and evaluation of rangeland
reseeding equipment continued in 1977 in
response to strong support from Interior ranchers.
Approximately 2,000 acres of rangeland were
reseeded. Machinery requirements for silage were
emphasized in 1977 particularly in the Northern
and Central Interior. A project .was initiated on the
page fifty five
The disc is hydraulically operated and specially designed
to go over rocks and major obstacles.
development of a low cost silage handling system
for small farms and ranches. Advisory information
on farm mechanization problems was extended
throughout the province.
The branch also carried out a number of special
assignments. These included a review of effluent
irrigation proposals in Penticton and Cranbrook
for the Pollution Control Branch of the Environment Ministry, the preparation of a drainage
feasibility report on the Minnekhada Farm
property for Lands Management Service of the
Environment Ministry, and design checks on 92
irrigation and drainage plans submitted with
ALDA loan applications.
Plans and proposals ranging from vegetable
storages to a seed cleaning plant were reviewed for
the Farm Products Finance Branch. Design, tendering and construction supervision was provided
for the Hunter Creek Brand Inspection Facilities
and the Tranquille Bull Test Station. Similar input
was provided for community pasture corrals in the
Northern and Central Interior funded through
Other assignments involved the judging of an
international contest sponsored by the Ministry of
the Environment to select a machine to control
the Eurasian Milfoil weed in interior lakes and the
monitoring of farm electrical service loads in
conjunction with B.C. Hydro.
Diseases of plants are identified to determine the best
method of control. Biological control of insects is gaining
significance as a means of reducing the number of
chemical sprays used.
The Entomology-Plant Pathology Branch was
formed on May 1 from an amalgamation of the
Entomology and Plant Pathology Branches. The
responsibilities of this new branch includes the
provision of information on or relating to control
of plant diseases, insects, mites, rodents, moles and
birds. The branch is also responsible for the
development and maintenance of a pesticide information centre in Victoria. Liaison is maintained
with the Pesticide Control Branch which was
transferred on March 31 from this Ministry to the
Ministry of Environment. The staff of the
Entomology-Plant Pathology Branch continues to
participate in training courses for pesticide
applicators and vendors.
In the Okanagan Valley, high codling moth
numbers developed in some apple orchards during
hot weather in August. European red mite
numbers, on the other hand, remained low
throughout the season. The leafroller complex
which has been shown to consist of at least six
species is of concern. Cherry fruit fly surveys
disclosed three new locations of infestation in
Oliver, one in Osoyoos and two new locations in
the Cawston area. The high levels of powdery
mildew in Okanagan apple orchards were critical in
some orchards. It was demonstrated that a pink
spray is important in the prevention of fruit
russetting from this disease.
A new technique for San Jose Scale control
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which was developed by the federal research
station at Summerland shows considerable promise
for maximum control with minimum use of
Under joint provincial government and direct
grower support, an apple pest management program, utilizing the services of a private consultant
was conducted in the Okanagan to determine if
this approach could be commercially feasible. Of
the forty participating growers representing 700
acres, over 80 per cent saved one or more sprays.
Specialists again co-operated with the federal
research station at Summerland on the non-
chemical control of codling moth in the
Similkameen Vallev.
A pest monitoring program in nine commercial
pear orchards proved the effectiveness of refined
techniques which have been developed for determining when to spray. Fruit quality was maintained with a minimum number of sprays.
Cherry orchards in the Okanagan and
Similkameen Valleys were again surveyed for little
cherry virus disease. A total of 314 diseased trees
were removed in Oliver, Kaleden, Penticton,
Naramata and Summerland.
As a result of the pear trellis rust survey and
eradication program, a juniper certification program to allow for sales outside of the Fraser Valley
has been accepted for the nursery industry of the
Fraser Valley.
page fifty seven
A survey of strawberry plantings in the Fraser
Valley revealed only small number of predaceous
mites. The control of two spotted mites with
miticides has been erratic. Tests using fluorescent
dyes showed that sprayers used by strawberry
growers are giving poor spray distribution on the
undersides of leaves. In cooperation with the
research station at Agassiz, post harvest defoliation
of strawberries was tested as a method of mite
control. To date, results are inconclusive.
A method was developed of screening soil to
determine the presence of onion white rot. Using
this method, a survey showed the disease is present
in at least half the commercial onion farms in the
Lower Fraser Valley.
Under a ministry grant, a study was conducted
by Simon Fraser University on the visual and
olfactory mechanisms of host selection by the
onion maggot. The study is seeking a more
effective method of timing sprays. The general
application of pest management procedures for
onion pest control now seems feasible.
In co-operation with the Field Crops Branch
and the Agriculture Canada Golden Nematode
Laboratory, a DATE project was undertaken to
determine whether the Hudson potato variety
known to be resistant to the golden nematode
could be successfully grown in the Saanich golden
nematode area. A new soil fumigant, Temik, was
also tested to determine its effectiveness in suppressing golden nematode populations. Temik suppressed nematode populations for only 30 to 40
days after planting thus permitting nematode
populations to again increase later in the season.
Fumigants were tested against foliar diseases of
vegetables to find more effective materials and to
find replacements for the bisdithiocarbamates
which have come under increasing registration
A program has been set up at Cloverdale which
is aimed at supplying commercial tomato and
cucumber greenhouse growers with biological
agents for the control of two spotted mite and
white fly.
Inspection of nurseries was carried out in
respect to regulations governing pine shoot moth
on the sale of pinus. Nurseries now have a smaller
incidence of shoot moth than when the program
started four years ago.
Research was continued on biological control
and on other methods of control that present little
or no hazard to non-target organisms of insects
page fifty eight
attacking man and animals. An insect predator and
a nematode parasite are being tested as mosquito
control agents. A project was initiated on control
of manure breeding flies. Evaluation of new
control materials has led to the recommendation
of an insect hormonal material for mosquito
Advice on mosquito control was provided to
Kamloops, Merritt, the Okanagan Valley, Prince
George, Fort Nelson and Fraser Valley communities. Monitoring of populations of mosquito
species was continued and the information
obtained was used to provide a warning of possible
disease outbreaks. Mosquito numbers were low in
most parts of the province as a probable result of
the light snow pack and low river levels.
A hot period in August resulted in large
numbers of horn and face flies. Fly populations in
poultry houses in the Fraser Valley were higher
than in previous years.
A co-operative test with Agriculture Canada of
chemicals for tick control was continued. A survey
was initiated to determine if the "no-see-um"
vector of Bluetongue of cattle is present in the
Fraser Valley.
Mouse populations in the interior returned to
normal levels from the abnormal peaks reached in
1975-76. The testing of control materials has led
to the recommendation of an anti-coagulant for
orchard mouse control. Commercial baits have
been set out to evaluate their effectiveness against
pocket gophers and ground squirrels.
Several starling baits were tested in the
Okanagan Valley in an attempt to find a bait for
use in traps as a replacement for apples. Studies
indicate an integrated approach utilizing trapping,
noise makers and distress signals is the most
effective approach to controlling small local
flocks. No method has been found effective
against large migratory flocks. Trials are being
conducted in the Summerland area using repellents
to protect orchards from deer damage.
The Soils Branch operates the Soil, Feed and Tissue
Testing Laboratory at Kelowna. Thousands of soil
samples are analyzed for farmers to determine proper
fertilizer applications.
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Soils Branch activities were concentrated in five
major areas: advisory services to farmers; soil, feed
and tissue testing services; interministerial resource
related activities; administration of the So/7 Conservation Act; and technical services to the
Provincial Agricultural Land Commission.
Advisory services were provided in the Central
and Southern Interior, Lower Mainland and
Vancouver Island areas. Irrigation information was
prepared for approximately 500 soil samples from
irrigation workshops and commercial designers.
Drainage recommendations were made for more
than 1,000 acres in the Interior and on Vancouver
Island. Drain construction in the Lower Fraser
Valley totalled 192,500 metres (632,000 feet).
This was the highest level of construction during
the last five years and was exceed only in 1972.
Additional advisory services included recommendations concerning soil management and a
variety of soil related problems.
The Soil, Feed and Tissue Testing Laboratory
received 11,000 soil samples entailing more than
90,000 individual analyses. Feed and Tissue samples increased to 6,000 in 1977 from 5,300 in
1976, an increase of 13 per cent. Extension and
research activities related to the laboratory were
maintained by participation in projects with other
branches, Agriculture Canada and the University
of British Columbia. Approximately 30 per cent of
the soil samples and 58 per cent of the feed and
tissue samples were processed in support of these
projects. Fertilizer and nutrition recommendations
based on the laboratory service continue to be of
economic benefit to growers.
Specialists advised the Ministry of Agriculture
relative to interministerial resource problems such
as mining proposals, electric power transmission
lines and other development projects. This
involved reviewing a variety of environmental
reports, providing advice to provincial and
municipal government agencies, and representing
the ministry on appropriate Victoria and regional
committees to ensure that Agriculture's concerns
were given adequate consideration.
The So/7 Conservation Act and Regulations
were amended in 1977. More effective control
over soil removal and land filling operations on
land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is
now possible. Permits from the local authority
(Regional District or Municipality) are required for
soil removal or land fill operations within ALRs.
Such permits also require approval from the
Provincial Agricultural Land Commission.
Numerous on-site inspections were made relative
to soil removal and land fill operations.
Technical services to the Provincial Agricultural
Land Commission were continued in 1977. At the
request of the commission, 177 on-site inspections
and reports were prepared for properties under
appeal to the commission.
page fifty nine
Carcasses  of dead animals are examined by  veterinary
pathologists to determine the disease causing death.
The Veterinary Branch includes the field
division, the veterinary laboratory and the brands
In the field division considerable activity centred around the transfer of provincial meat inspection service to the Health of Animals Branch,
Agriculture Canada. An agreement between
Canada and British Columbia Ministers of Agriculture was signed and federal domestic inspection
began in six provincial establishments on
September 1.
In accounting for the 17 provincial meat
inspectors, eight transferred to the federal Health
of Animals Branch, four remained in the
Veterinary Branch, four transferred to other
branches in the ministry and one terminated
service. Under the agreement the Ministry of
Agriculture pays for the services of federal meat
inspectors. An inspection fee is then charged to
individual abattoirs that represents approximately
one half of the total inspection costs. It is
expected that this inspection service will be less
costly and result in broader market appeal. Inspection services are now available to qualifying
abattoirs in all parts of the province.
Field veterinarians continue to provide animal
inspection at livestock public sale yards and to
supervise licenced businesses under the Veterinary
Drug and Medicated Feed Regulations.
There were no cases of Western Equine Enchep-
halomyelitis during the year. There have been a
few isolated cases of Brucellosis. However, each
incident was quickly brought under control by the
Health of Animals Branch and British Columbia
virtually remains free of this cattle disease.
In the 1976 annual report considerable
attention was focused on Bluetongue. The federal
Minister of Agriculture imposed a Bluetongue
quarantine which covered the approximate territory from Hedley to Rock Creek, along the
international border and north to the southern
boundary of Penticton. The quarantine was lifted
on January 13, 1977 following the eradication of
positive reactors in beef herds.
The diagnostic caseload increased considerably
at the veterinary laboratory. Diagnostic and investigational capabilities continued to develop concerning those diseases initiated by or wholly due
to viruses, or trace mineral deficiencies.
A new method of paying for veterinary laboratory service was initiated when one hatchery-
broiler operation signed a contract to pay for
services based on units of production.
The laboratory carried out several projects for
other branches and ministries. An Aleutian Disease
eradication program for the mink industry was
continued. Several mink ranches are now disease-
free or have reached a minimal level of infection.
page sixty
The Veterinary Branch administers brand inspection
services on horses and cattle sold in specified areas of the
Participating mink ranchers report larger litters
and stronger kits.
The virology section co-operated with the
Poultry Branch in a DATE project to assess the
infection status of poultry with respect to three
viruses which could have a serious economic
impact on the industry. The poultryman can now
be made aware of control measures against viruses
which cause Infectious Bursal Disease, Avian Adenovirus Infections and Avian Infectious Arthritis.
A new policy on the release of diagnostic
results was adopted whereby results of laboratory
tests become the joint property of the submitter
and the Ministry of Agriculture. Results may be
released for public knowledge at the discretion of
the Minister when such release is considered in the
public interest.
page sixty one
Youth Development
The 4-H program provides young people
throughout British Columbia with a unique educational and recreational opportunity. The 4-H
program is open to young people from nine to 19
years of age with clubs forming around a variety of
projects. Leadership is provided by volunteer
adults from the community.
The overall objective of the 4-H program is the
personal development of the young people
involved. In 1977, 3,943 members and 819 leaders
enrolled in 267 4-H clubs throughout British
During 1977, 4-H members participated in a
variety of travel and exchange programs in
addition to their regular project and club work.
The passage of Canadian laws, Canada's Governmental system, Canada's role as a food producer,
transportation and 4-H on a national and international level, were some of the topics dealt with
by selected 4-H members at national and international 4-H programs. British Columbia was
paired with New Brunswick in the Summer 4-H
Work Exchange. The Interprovincial 4-H Exchange
celebrated its fifteenth year and again saw an
exchange of nine members from each province,
one to each of the other nine provinces. In
addition there were several regionally-organized
exchanges involving other areas of Canada and
parts of the United States.
The restructuring of the 4-H program in the
province continued to work well with the British
Columbia 4-H Executive Council becoming an
effective policy-making group.
Through activities such as camps, conferences,
activities at fairs, travel programs and club and
project work, the 4-H program is helping to
develop young people with positive attitudes and
definite goals.
The British Columbia 4-H Youth Development
Foundation is gaining stature. In 1977 two special
projects were initiated to generate revenue for the
foundation. The first was the development of a
British Columbia 4-H T-shirt. The profit from the
sale of the shirts goes into the foundation. The
second was a DATE-sponsored project which
studied selenium deficiency on southern
Vancouver Island. 4-H members were involved in
the collecting of silage, hay and grass samples. A
portion of their fee for this service will go to the
British Columbia 4-H Youth Development Foundation.
oaae sixty two
Almost 4,000 4-H club members are enrolled in 267 clubs
across the province. Young members participate in
demonstrations ranging from beef cattle to cooking
Farm Vacation Program
The British Columbia Farm Vacation Program,
administered by the branch, makes available a
listing of farm vacation hosts. This program
provides farmers and ranchers with an alternate
source of income while, at the same time, giving
urban people an opportunity to holiday on a farm
and to learn about agriculture. In 1977 over 400
people took vacations on British Columbia farms
and ranches. Vacations averaged five days for a
total of 2,125 vacation days taken.
Agricultural Exchange Programs
In 1977, 43 European, New Zealand and
Australian trainees came to British Columbia.
Participating trainees gain valuable farming
experience and an understanding of cultures in
different countries. In the fall of 1977, 12 young
people from British Columbia worked on farms in
Australia and New Zealand under this program.
page sixty three


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