BC Sessional Papers

Ministry of Agriculture 1979 Annual Report British Columbia. Legislative Assembly [1980]

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 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
To Colonel the Honourable
E.D. *
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 1979.
James J. Hewitt
Minister of Agriculture
  Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
of Contents
Report of the Deputy Minister
of Agriculture
Organization Chart
Ministry Executive and
Branch Heads 1979
Agriculture Review
Executive Officer
Assistant Deputy Minister
Information Services
Marketing Services
Financial Services
Agricultural and Rural
Agricultural Credit
Crop Insurance
Farm Income Assurance
Farm Products Finance
Property Management
Specialist Services
Entomology-Plant Pathology
Youth Development
Production Services
Development and Extension
Farm Economics
Field Crops
  Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
S.B. Peterson
To the Honourable James J. Hewitt
Minister of Agriculture
I am pleased to present the 1979 Annual
Report of the British Columbia Ministry of
Agriculture. The report summarizes activities
of your Ministry for the 12 months ending
December 31, 1979.
During the year, your Ministry's executive
intensively studied proposals for improved
regional service to British Columbia's
farmers. We anticipate full implementation
of a new approach to regional program
delivery during 1980.
In general, markets were good for most
British Columbia agricultural commodities.
However, some horticultural crops suffered
abnormal winter damage resulting in
reduced yields and inadequate supplies to
processors. Ministry financial programs
assisted growers in maintaining their
operations during this loss period thus
allowing continued planning for future crop
The ministry actively supported
commodity groups by co-sponsoring sales
promotions to increase overall awareness and
consumption of B.C. grown foodstuffs. As
well, strong efforts continued in the search
for new export markets and in the expansion
of existing ones.
As public concern grew over the need to
protect the environment, Ministry programs
Report of the
Deputy Minister of
continued to be developed to reflect these
concerns. Biological control methods were
researched and, in some cases, put into
practice to control harmful weeds and insect
pests. As these practices become more
effective, the industry's use of chemicals to
control pests will lessen.
The ARDSA program continued to play a
dominant role in the further development of
the province's agricultural industry. In
particular, major programs leading to
improvements to Crown ranges, district
irrigation and drainage works were carried
out during the year. Financial assistance to
eligible firms processing agricultural and
other food products continued during the
year thereby expanding product output
necessary to serve a growing market
Ministry staff worked diligently to assist
farmers in providing quality foodstuffs at
equitable returns. We look forward to
meeting the challenges of the next decade.
Respectfully submitted,
S.B. Peterson
Deputy Minister
 Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
Ministry Executive
Branch Heads
Minister    Hon. James J. Hewitt
(appointed May 10/79 following election)
Deputy Minister S.B. Peterson
Assistant Deputy Minister    E.M. King
Director, Administrative Services J.F. Newman
Director, Financial Services l.C. Carne
Director, Policy Development and Planning  C.J.N. Gibbs (resigned May 31/79)
Director, Production Services    R.L. Wilkinson
Director, Specialist Services  R.J. Miller
Agricultural and Rural Development   J.R. Steele
Agriculture Credit  M.K. Thompson
Apiculture J. Coiner
Crop Insurance   P. Humphry-Baker
Dairy   D.J. Blair
Development and Extension   M.G. Oswell
Engineering  T.A. Windt
Entomology-Plant Pathology H.J. O'Reilly
Executive Officer   P.H. Pettyfer
Farm Economics  B.A. Hackett
Farm Finance Programs (Coordinator)  J.E. Hall
Farm Income Assurance  W.F. Morton
Farm Products Finance   J.B. Phillips
Field Crops    J.V. Zacharias
Horticulture A.C. Carter
Information Services  R.A. Sera
Livestock    J.A. Pelter
Marketing Services    D.A. Rugg
Poultry    H.S. Mangat (appointed Feb. 26/79)
Property Management    B.R. Richardson
Soils    R.S. Bertrand (appointed April 1/79)
Veterinary  RJ. Avery (appointed March 29/79)
Youth Development    D.E. Freed
page seven
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
Distribution of Farm Cash Receipts - 1979*
Grains &
Other       Oilseeds
FIA      4.5% 4 7o/0
0.6% ' /0     Vegetables
Table I   Distribution of Farm Cash Receipts, 1979, British Columbia
per cent
Grains and oilseeds
Special crops, including floriculture and nursery crops
Cattle and calves
Dairy products
Poultry and eggs
FIA (Farm Income Assurance)
Other cash receipts
Total Farm Cash Receipts
*Source: Statistics Canada
page eight
January 1980
 Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
1979 Agricultural
Farm Cash Receipts
(Tables I and II)
British Columbia's total farm cash receipts
in 1979 reached a record level of $641.9
million, an increase of 10.3 per cent over
1978. In the crop sector, cash receipts totalled
$216 million, up by 3.3 per cent. Wheat and
rapeseed receipts increased considerably.
However, owing to a decline in the volume of
oats and barley grown and marketed at the
farm level, receipts from all grain sales fell by
4 per cent despite increased Canadian Wheat
Board payments. Rapeseed receipts, on the
other hand, rose by an impressive 42.6 per
cent as a result of significant increases in both
price and marketings. As well, cash receipts
from fruit increased by 8 per cent, while sales
of nursery stock and greenhouse crops were
up by 17 per cent. Vegetable sales showed
little growth, as in the previous year.
In the livestock and livestock products
sector, cash receipts totalled $410.9 million,
an increase of 17.7 per cent over 1978. There
were healthy gains in sales of cattle and
calves (up by 18.1 per cent), hogs (up by 24.1
per cent) and sheep and lambs (up by 13.7
per cent), due largely to better 1979 prices.
Cash receipts from dairy products also rose
appreciably (by 15.2 per cent) due to an
increase in Milk Board administered prices
and increased consumption. There was
significant growth in poultry sales (up 29.2
per cent) and encouraging, if modest, growth
in sales of eggs and honey.
Farm Operating Expenses
(Table III)
The cost of farming continued to escalate.
Production expenses for 1979 totalled $553.8
million, an increase of 14.2 per cent over
1978. Significant cost increases occurred in
farm rent (up by 21.4 per cent), in farm wages
(up by 16.3 per cent), and in feed and other
livestock expenses (up by 11.9 per cent and
12.4 per cent, respectively). However, as in
1978, interest on farm debt showed the
largest single increase (up by 33.7 per cent),
reflecting growth in capital investment in
agriculture. The sharp upward trend in
interest rates in the latter half of 1979 added
to farmers' interest costs. There was some
relief due to payments to farmers under the
British Columbia Partial Interest
Reimbursement Program. In 1979 this
program paid $8.2 million in interest
reimbursement benefits to farmers for 1978
loans, an amount substantially higher than
that paid in 1978.
Farmland and Number of Farms
The area of cultivated farmland in British
Columbia increased to 2.0 million acres in
1979, a 5 percent increase over the area
estimated in 1978. Associated with this
increase was the continued increase in farm
numbers in British Columbia, when most
other provinces were experiencing declines.
The total number of agricultural holdings in
1979 grew to 20,600, an increase of 4 per cent
over the number estimated in 1978.
Food Processing (Table IV)
The estimated value of agricultural
commodities marketed by British Columbia
food and beverage manufacturing firms in
1979 came to $2,130 million. This was an
increase of 18 per cent over the $1,804 million
estimated for 1978. As of July 1979, there
were 529 firms processing food and
beverages in British Columbia, a considerable
increase over the number recorded in the
previous year.
Retail Food Prices
British Columbia's retail food prices
increased by 11.7 per cent in 1979. Major
increases occurred in eggs (up 10.4 per cent),
dairy products (up 10.2 per cent), fruit and
vegetables (up 10.0 per cent), and meat (up
9.2 per cent). Although food prices increased,
Agriculture Canada's survey of food costs for
12 major Canadian cities showed that
Vancouver families had the lowest rate of
increase (8.5 per cent) in average monthly
food costs over the year.
page nine
 Ministry of Agriculture—1979 Annual Report
Table II British Columbia Farm Cash Receipts
, 1978 - 1979,
— thousands of dollars —
% Change
4 725
5 316
9 417
Western Grain Stabilization Payments
9 433
13 451
77 855
+ 8.1
33 782
33 906
+ 0.4
Floriculture and Nursery
30 700
35 935
Forage Seeds
2 311
3 000
Other Crops
20 593
19 024
- 7.6
Total Crops
203 731
216 354
+ 6.2
Cattle and Calves
17 691
Sheep and Lambs
+ 13.7
Dairy Products
125 090
144 078
+ 15.2
40 718
44 930
3 520
3 749
+ 6.5
Other Livestock and Products
12 443
13 486
+ 8.4
Total Livestock and Products
348 970
410 899
Forest Products (farm woodlots)
2 935
3 476
Farm Income Assurance
17 519
3 885
Dairy Supplementary Payments
6 825
7 272
Deficiency Payments
Total Farm Cash Receipts
582 156
Source: Statistics Canada
January 1980
page ten
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
Table III British Farm Operating Expenses and Depreciation
Charges, 1978 -1979
Projection % Change
15 500
+  5.9
Gross farm rent
13 800
+ 21.4
Wages to farm labour
70 932
82 500
+ 16.3
Interest on indebtedness
66 911
+ 37.3
Provincial interest reimbursement
8 243
+ 87.9
Net interest on indebtedness
62 524
83 600
+ 33.7
Machinery expenses
Fertilizer and lime
47 200
+  4.7
+   7.5
Other crop expenses
19 833
111 717
125 000
+ 10.4
+ 11.9
Other livestock expenses
15 219
+ 12.4
Repairs to buildings
Electricity and telephone
9 988
13 494
34 350
38 000
+ 12.1
+ 10.6
Total Operating Expenses
+ 14.4
Depreciation on buildings
Depreciation on machinery
18 699
20 600
46 700
+ 10.2
+ 13.9
Total Operating Expenses and
Depreciation Charges
484 846
553 800
+ 14.2
Source: Statistics Canada   Ottawa Outlook Conference
December 1979
Table IV Number of Food and Beverage Industries, British
Columbia, 1979
Slaughtering and Meat Processors
Biscuit and Confectionary
Poultry Processors
Egg Processors
Fish Products Industry
Fruit and Vegetable Canners,
Sugar and Honey Processors
Preservers and Frozen Fruit
Miscellaneous Food Processors
and Vegetable Processors
Soft Drink Manufacturers
Dairy Products Industry
Flour and Breakfast Cereal Processors
Feed Industry
January 1980 Total
page eleven
 Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
Executive Officer
The Executive Officer is responsible for the
coordination of legislative matters within the
ministry. In 1979, 47 Orders-in-Council were
processed relating to 11 Acts. During the 1979
Session of the Legislative Assembly, the
following agricultural legislation was
Bill 14: Milk Industry
Amendment Act, 1979
Amendments were made necessary by a
judgement of the Supreme Court of Canada
that ruled that a section of the Federal
Agricultural Products Marketing Act was
invalid. In parallel with the principle of the
judgement, the Milk Industry Act was
therefore extended to authorize the fixing
and collecting of levies and to allow for a
program of surplus removal.
Bill 40: Miscellaneous Statutes
Amendment Act, 1979
The Act contains amendment to a number
of Acts including:
The amendment provides for the
establishment of honeybee stock
improvement areas to facilitate the
development of quality breeding stock.
The amendment was necessary to clarify
the powers of inspectors and the disposition
of money recovered by a municipality.
The Executive Officer serves as secretary to
the British Columbia Agricultural Aid to
Developing Countries Advisory Committee
which, in the fiscal year 1978/79,
recommended support for 59 projects,
sponsored by 23 charitable organizations, in
29 countries. A similar number of projects
will have been supported by the end of the
1979/80 fiscal year.
The Executive Officer is responsible for the
administration of the ministry's policy of
financial assistance to many agricultural
associations. Under this policy, grants are
given for prize money, judges' expenses and
capital improvements at fair and exhibition
grounds, and for assistance towards
operating expenses of the Provincial
Womens' Institutes, District Farmers'
Institutes and other associations. As
Superintendent of Farmers' Institutes, he
provides liaison services for their members
with the ministry, and organizes the annual
meeting of the Farmers' Institutes Advisory
Additional duties of the Executive Officer
include that of secretary at the monthly
senior staff meetings and secretary to the
B.C. Agricultural Services Coordinating
Committee which, through direction of six
lead science committees, maintains a watch
on agricultural developments in the province
and encourages research to overcome
problems of importance to the agricultural
Grants are given for prize money, judges' expenses and capital improvements to fair and exhibition grounds.
page twelve
Assistant Deputy Minister
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
Information Services
The Information Services Branch acts as
the communications/public relations arm of
the ministry in creating an awareness of
programs of interest primarily to the farm
audience. Increasing effort, however, was
devoted to programs directed at the
non-farm audience.
Techniques used during the year included
the preparation of news releases, feature
articles, technical publications,
advertisements, audio-visual productions
and displays.
News Releases
The branch continued to be responsible for
preparation of all new releases issued by the
ministry. News releases covered a variety of
topics ranging from announcements of new
policies to informing the public and farmers
about new production techniques. A total of
61 news releases were mailed to about 1,500
recipients across Canada including
governments, industry, media and private
individuals. In addition, the branch edited 51
federal-provincial news releases relating to
the DREE/ARDSA program.
The editing and processing of ministry
publications continued to be a major function
of the branch. A total of 68 publications,
pamphlets and brochures were written,
revised or reprinted. All publications were
scrutinized by branch staff for editorial
quality and design.
A new set of single-sheet pamphlets was
prepared to service mainly the non-farm
public wishing general information on British
Columbia agriculture. The set consisted of
eight separate pages, each of which described
agriculture in one of the eight agricultural
reporting regions of the province. School
students made the largest use of the
A pamphlet describing general agriculture
in British Columbia was translated into
Japanese, Chinese, French and Spanish for
use as a handout to visiting delegations from
foreign countries.
Preparation of the 1979 production guides
again constituted a major effort by branch
The branch also produced the ministry's
annual report.
Throughout 1979, the branch was
responsible for placing technical
advertisements into farm press. The
advertisements related to ministry sponsored
events, deadlines for farm applications for
specific ministry programs, minister's
messages, promotion of livestock
improvement programs, etc. Advertisements
placed by the Information Services Branch
were directed primarily at the farmer as
opposed to consumer related advertisements
normally placed by the Marketing Branch.
Most of the branches within the ministry
produce factsheets for use by farmers. They
were distributed primarily through mailing
lists within the various field offices. A
separate mailing list was being compiled
during the year of those persons requesting
specific factsheets on a regular basis. The
Information Services Branch co-ordinated the
factsheet series although each branch was
responsible for the technical content.
Factsheets included Agrimarket Reporter,
Engineering Notes, Farm Business
Management, Field Crops Facts, B.C. Food
Markets, Pest Control Notes, Stock Talk,
Soils Notes and Poultry Facts.
Public Relations
The public relations function largely
involves preparation of news releases and
feature articles for the media and the design
of displays for use at industry conventions
and special events. Numerous feature articles
were prepared specifically for Country Life
Magazine and printed as deemed appropriate
by the publishers.
The branch's display structure was used
extensively by field staff attending various
conventions and special agricultural events.
The B.C. Ferry Corporation invited several
government ministries to participate in
construction of a display shelter at each of the
major ferry terminals. The shelter, similar to
page fourteen
 those at the entrance of provincial parks, was
planned to exhibit a 4' x 8' display panel
from the participating ministries on a
one-month rotational basis. The ministry of
agriculture panel was entitled "Our
Neighbours In The Country" and was
nearing completion at year end. The panel
will depict many facets of B.C. agriculture
through the use of artwork, colour
photographs and a map of B.C. showing the
areas of agricultural production.
Educational film
are produced for farm
Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
The audio-visual unit at Kelowna
continued very active in producing
numerous slide-tape presentations and
feature film presentations. Also, hundreds of
black and white and colour photographs
were taken for use in publications, factsheets
and media articles.
The 1979 fruit growers' chautauqua was
completed for February broadcast and
filming done for the 1980 version. A
15-minute film on Eurasian Milfoil was also
completed for the Ministry of Environment.
Film sequences were shot for an instructional
film on predator control in British Columbia.
The film was designed to inform livestock
producers of proper techniques in identifying
predator kills and reporting them
expeditiously. The film also will point out the
scope of the predator problem in the
province. A 15-minute film on automated
dairy grain feeding systems was prepared for
the ministry's dairy specialist.
A comprehensive slide-tape presentation
using a two-projector dissolve system was
prepared and entitled "Food In Perspective".
The presentation was designed to illustrate
the dimensions of B.C. agriculture in relation
to other aspects of the provincial economy
and to create an appreciation of the role of the
B.C. food and agriculture industry. This
presentation, along with a companion
slide-tape presentation entitled "Three Meals
A Day", was used extensively throughout
the year by the Minister and other ministry
staff at numerous agricultural functions.
The film library normally housed at the
Kelowna office was transferred during the
year to the Ministry of Tourism film library
offices in Vancouver which was better
equipped to handle loan-in/loan-out services
to the general public.
page fifteen
 Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
Marketing Services
The Marketing Services Branch is primarily
concerned with the enhancement of the food
and agriculture industry within the province
of British Columbia through increased
utilization of B.C. products; improved
management decision-making through
preparation of accurate and timely market
information and analysis; provision of
consulting assistance in problem solving
within the food processing and handling
industry and through maintainence of a
legislative and regulatory climate that will
allow these objectives to be met.
During 1979, staff attempted to meet these
goals through four distinct components of
the branch. These are: administration, food
promotion, market development and market
information. As well as handling the
regulatory roles, the administration
component coordinated the other three
During 1979, the function of the market
information unit expanded with increased
readership of the unit's bimonthly reports
and a rapidly escalating demand for
individual analytical services. The market
development unit was able to undertake a
limited number of assistance projects with
the processing industry by using student
The branch cooperated on a number of
initiatives with the federal provincial task
force on agriculture export development.
Reports were received on a wide range of
commodities including breeding cattle and
semen, cheese, blueberries, processed fruits,
vegetables and meats and export financing.
These reports identified areas where action
was required and resulted in examination of
methods to remove these export constraints.
Funded under the ARDSA program and
coordinated by this branch, the market
opportunities identification project has
produced 10 reports identifying new and
expanded possibilities for vegetable
production in the Lower Mainland. This also
resulted in the formation of an action
committee to resolve the problems of storage
and removal of field heat from vegetables.
As a member of the Part 1 ARDSA
technical sub committee, the branch head
coordinated two reports which were
released; namely, a study on a terminal
page sixteen
market for the Lower Mainland, and a study
on the B.C. rabbit industry.
The branch began work with the Women's
Institutes in 1979 with a view to using their
membership to promote Home Grown - B.C.
Quality foods and the nutrition therein. The
institutes were also interested in evaluating
the report on farmer's markets produced by
the branch during the past year.
Approval was received to proceed with a
second logo in the promotion of B.C.
foodstuffs. This is the Home Processed - B.C.
Quality logo, which is used by B.C. food
processors where they are unable to qualify
for the use of the Home Grown logo. This
initiative was very well received by the
processing industry and is expected to
expand in coming years.
The branch coordinated a number of
incoming trade missions, primarily Japanese
missions on seed, feed and dairy cattle. As
well, the supervisor of market development
assisted with a major outgoing trade mission
composed of B.C. food and fish processors.
Staff on this mission attended the Anuga
Trade Fair in Cologne, Germany, and
followed up on opportunities within Belgium
and England.
Market Development
Requests for market development
assistance far exceeded the branch's ability to
assist. Activities included product
development, taste and preference panel
work, management consulting and
processing consulting. It is intended that this
type of work be expanded with additional
staff in the near future.
Home Economics
The branch's home economist worked in
conjunction with the Food Promotion Unit.
She also became involved in the supply of
information and promotion of B.C. food
products within the school system. About
50,000 pieces of information per month were
distributed and used in classroom activities.
The home economist also released new
recipes used in the food promotion program
and in conjunction with commodity groups.
An example of this is the recipe book
 produced by the B.C. Honey Producers
Association, which will become available in
early 1980.
Food Promotion
The food promotion unit sucessfully
participated in the cooperative production
and presentation of promotional
undertakings with commodity groups and
food processors. Also, a further four issues of
the popular quarterly recipe and gardening
guide were produced.
Programming began with the non-food
portion of the agriculture industry during the
year including the Nursery Trade and United
Flower Growers. A major salad promotion
was also conducted, including a giant salad
luncheon co-hosted with the B.C. Fresh For
Flavour Foundation and the commodity
organizations involved. As well, the brown
bag program was completed with the
presentations to the winners of the school
nutrition poster contest in February.
Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
The instore food demonstration program
expanded in 1979. Staff carried out about 100
demonstrations using products from 36
processors and commodity groups.
Market Information
During 1979,12 issues of B.C. Food
Markets and 23 issues of Agrimarket
Reporter were produced. At year end, B.C.
Food Markets had a circulation of over 1,800
with sectors of the media quoting it
consistently. Agrimarket Reporter, combined
with a further monthly report entitled Fresh
Fruit and Vegetable Report, was used
extensively by the industry.
The Directory of Food and Beverages
Industry for British Columbia was updated.
This publication formed the basis of a new
Ministry of Economic Development
publication to be produced in early 1980.
Volume 1 of the B.C. Vegetable Marketing
Guide was produced and a total of 750 copies
were distributed to vegetable growers and
Display and sampling of B. C. food products at food stores, shopping centres and trade shows further helped to increase consumer
awareness of British Columbia Home Grown and Home Processed foods.
page seventeen
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
organizations throughout the province.
A report by the market information unit
assessed refrigerated trucking services in
British Columbia. This publication was
intended as a reference to assist those
companies involved in marketing of
perishable foods throughout the province
and Western Canada.
Staff of the market information unit were
involved in advising on seasonal application
of tariffs on fresh fruits and vegetables. On
October 24, 1979 the renegotiated fresh fruit
and vegetable tariff changes were instituted,
and a new surtax procedure announced.
Details of implementation were yet to be
worked out at year end.
During 1979, information packages were
distributed to roadside stand operators
throughout the province to assist them in
identifying operational requirements and
services available.
page eighteen
Director, Financial Services
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
Agricultural and
Rural Development
The ARDA Branch is responsible for the
coordination and administration of two major
programs operating under joint funding
arrangements between the Province and the
federal department of regional economic
ARDA Projects Completed
The Agriculture and Rural Development
Agreement 1975/77 (ARDA) expired on July
31,1977. Approved work on ARDA projects
was allowed until December 31,1978, with a
deadline of March 31,1979, for filing ARDA
claims with the federal government.
Work related with ARDA was essentially
completed during 1978, with full attention
subsequently given to the new
federal-provincial Agriculture and Rural
Development Subsidiary Agreement
ARDSA Approaches Mid-Point
The ARDA Branch is responsible for
administering the five-year ARDSA program
which began on August 1,1977. ARDSA's
$60 million budget is funded equally by the
federal department of regional economic
expansion (DREE) and the British Columbia
ministry of agriculture.
The first 29 months of the ARDSA program
have proven it to be a very comprehensive
assistance program offered to British
Columbia's agricultural and food processing
Growing Interest
The ARDA Branch received 588 written
applications for funding under ARDSA as at
December 31,1979. Five hundred and
twenty-eight of these were considered
eligible for further analysis and 60 rejected as
ineligible when received.
Since the inception of the ARDSA
program, the management committee has
approved 215 applications for funding,
committing $25,812,765 of the five-year, $60
million budget. A further 113 applications
have been either rejected as ineligible by the
management committee or withdrawn by the
applicants. This left approximately 200
Summary of ARDSA Approved Projects
August 1,1977 to December 31,1979
Part I       Research, Planning, Training and
Market Promotion
Part II     Co-ordinated Resource Management
(Range Improvement)
Part III    Primary Resource Development
(Drainage and Irrigation)
Part IV    Support Services and Community
Development (processing, rural
hydro, etc.)
page twenty
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
applications pending at year-end.
Each month, the ARDA Branch received an
average of 18 ARDSA applications eligible for
further analysis, some of which were referred
to private consultants, related ministries and
other BCMA branches for processing.
Part I - Research, Planning,
Training and Market Promotion
In 1979,16 new projects were approved
under Part 1 for a total of 41, representing a
commitment of $3,364,260 in ARDSA funds.
Some of the 1979 projects included a
comprehensive three-year financial
management program for B.C. farmers, the
research and demonstration of commercial
fruit dehydrating techniques, and the
development of British Columbia's first
commercial sheep farm using total
confinement with a light-controlled
Part II - Co-ordinated Resource
Forty-five projects were approved in 1979
under Part II, 44 of which concerned
development of Co-ordinated Resource
Electric power lines are constructed in rural areas with ARDSA
Management Plans (CRMP's) and one project
for a large scale CRMP mapping system. In
total, 70 Part II projects have been approved
with an ARDSA commitment totalling
The number of CRMP's developed under
both ARDSA and ARDA totalled 87, costing
over $16 million. About 528 ranchers have
been involved in the plans and have cattle
grazing on the areas.
Part III - Primary Resource
Part III got off to a relatively slow start with
ARDSA committing only $383,700 to three
ARDSA funds helped establish the Interior's only poultry processing line at Armstrong.
page twenty-one
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
projects up to December 31,1978. In 1979,
however 11 projects were approved with
ARDSA commitments of over $4.3 million.
Under Part III, applications were received
for irrigation and drainage projects valued at
$55 million. Feasibility studies were
completed for projects valued at $30.5 million
of the total. As a result, almost $5 million
were approved at year-end for Part III
projects. Of the remaining projects valued at
$25.5 million, about half were considered
economic and were under review.
Part IV - Support Services and
Community Development
ARDSA committed $4,630,869 to 48 Part rv
projects in 1979 for a total of 90 projects with
an ARDSA commitment of $9,048,493.
In 1979, 15 new rural electrification projects
were approved under Part IV for a total of 30
rural electrification projects valued at
$3,598,983. ARDSA contributed $1,570,152 to
the 30 projects with the balance funded by
B.C. Hydro's Rural Electrification Act (REA)
and local contributions.
Food processors are assisted through ARDSA funds in the
development of new food products.
Some of the other projects assisted under
Part IV in the past year included seven
seafood processing plants, upgrading work
at four tree-fruit packing houses in the
Okanagan, a food product development and
testing laboratory and a mushroom canning
ARDSA funding assists land improvement
projects such as the design and
construction of land drainage equipment.
(Photos by Sid Klassen.)
page twenty-two
 Agricultural Credit
Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
The Agricultural Credit Act and the
Agricultural Land Development Act are
administered by the Agricultural Credit
Branch. These Acts provide financial
assistance to eligible farm operators within
the province. The financial assistance
programs are summarized as follows:
a) A provincial government guarantee to
chartered banks or credit unions as
supplemental support security on loans to
b) A partial reimbursement of interest paid by
farmers on agricultural loans from
approved lenders.
c) Provision of incentives to farmers to
participate in programs to be proclaimed
and encouraged by the Province in
specified areas of B.C. These incentives to
farmers may take the form of additional
reimbursement of interest paid and/or
reimbursement of loan principal payments.
d) Provision of direct loans to a maximum of
$15,000 for primary and secondary land
Guaranteed Loan Program
In 1979, there were 36 loan portfolios,
representing a total of $4,671,910, guaranteed
for banks and credit unions. Since the
inception of the guaranteed loan program in
July 1974, there have been 263 guarantees
approved, amounting to $24,265,471, which
provided additional support security to farm
loan portfolios of chartered banks and credit
In 1979, five claims were made by lenders
under the guarantee covenant. These claims
*]£*•   "      •   «IB"«N1
Special low-interest loan programs assisted farmers in clearing
and developing land.
totalled $241,668.40. Since the inception of
the program in 1974, total claims of $279,687
have been paid which represented 1.56 per
cent of the total loans guaranteed.
Partial Interest Reimbursement
In 1979, farmers in British Columbia
received $8,242,934 representing partial
reimbursement of interest paid by them to
approved lenders during the calendar year
1978. Interest costs for this period were
reimbursed to reduce the effective interest
rate to approximately 9 per cent. There were
6,666 applications received from farmers who
had paid interest to approved lenders
identified as chartered banks, credit unions,
Farm Credit Corporation, Federal Business
Development Bank and the Director of the
Veteran's Land Act.
From inception of this program on July 1,
1974 to December 31,1979, a total of
$26,893,531 in interest reimbursement
benefits have been distributed to farmers to
reduce their interest costs.
Special Programs
Since the inception of this program in
November, 1974, 92 farm operators located in
the Peace River area of the province have
received benefits totalling $102,965 in the
form of partial interest reimbursement. In
1979, 44 farmers received benefits amounting
to $14,487 in the form of reimbursement of a
portion of their interest costs paid in 1978 on
special loans to purchase or retain livestock.
The reimbursement had the effect of
reducing interest rates on such loans to 4 per
cent for non-guaranteed loans and 4Vi per
cent for those loans under covenant of
Provincial Government guarantee.
ACT (A.L.D.A.)
In 1979, there were 724 contracts issued
under this program representing a total value
of $4,698,956. This direct loan program
assisted farmers in financing the cost of
primary and secondary land development.
page twenty-three
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
Crop Insurance
During 1979, the head office of the Crop
Insurance Branch was relocated to Kelowna
from Victoria.
The function of the Crop Insurance Branch
is to administer the B.C. Crop Insurance Act
and the Crop Insurance Stabilization Fund
The objectives of the Crop Insurance
Branch are:
1. To reduce the fluctuations in net income of
individual producers who suffer crop
losses due to weather and other
uncontrollable factors.
2. To maintain an effective system for
administration of crop insurance programs
for selected commodities.
3. To reduce the need for ad hoc assistance
programs in crop loss situations.
The crop insurance program involves the
participation of the farmer and the provincial
and federal governments.
The farmer and the federal government
each contribute 50 per cent of the total cost of
the premium involved, while the provincial
government contributes the cost of
administering the program.
The following six groups of crops are
covered by existing crop insurance plans.
Freezing temperatures during the winter
caused injury to strawberry plants. The
cumulative deficits in strawberry crop loss
and plant loss were written off in June, but
the experience of 1979 will put growers back
into a deficit position.
Losses to raspberry and cranberry crops
were light, while blueberries cropped heavily
and no claims were received for this crop.
The premium earned this year will be
sufficient to eliminate the cumulative deficit
in the blueberry program.
The early summer drought in the Peace
and Cariboo resulted in poor growth early in
the season, with the first cut yielding below
average tonnage in most cases.
Later in the summer, frequent rains
produced good growth but haymaking
conditions were poor and some crops were
lost in the swath. A number of claims
resulted and indemnities will again exceed
the premium income.
Participation for the 1980 crop year has
climbed to about 100.
Participation in the grain program declined
further in 1979 as a result of low commodity
prices and higher operating and living costs.
The continuing good experience with
rapeseed enabled a reduction of the rapeseed
premium for the second year in succession.
There were few wheat, barley and oat
claims. Most damage was suffered by
rapeseed crops which were adversely
affected by the wet weather, particularly in
the North Peace where some very wet areas
made harvesting a problem.
||jMH     HE
Crop insurance enables farmers to withstand high crop losses due
to unavoidable weather hazards.
page twenty-four
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
The long period of freezing temperatures,
together with the lack of snow cover, caused
extensive vine damage in the Oliver-Osoyoos
areas and to a lesser extent further north
where some tender varieties were injured.
The extent of the damage was made worse
by the late harvesting of the grapes which, in
some instances, were picked only a few days
before the first frosts occurred.
Crop loss indemnities were high as some of
the largest insured vineyards are in this area.
Both the crop loss and vine loss reserves
were in a strong financial position going into
the year. Due to high losses, it is anticipated
that the crop loss account will be in a deficit
position of about $300,000 at year-end while
the vine loss account should still show a
small surplus.
Where the surviving damaged vines
received good care and attention, regrowth
has been strong. The prospects for the
coming year are encouraging.
Tree Fruits
Participation in 1979 was up to 1,021 from
960 and has increased further to over 1,070
for 1980.
Following the reduction in premium rates
for peaches, pears and apricots in 1978, an
improved discount system was brought into
effect for 1979, in which the maximum earned
discount was increased to 50 per cent from 25
per cent.
Cherries suffered to a lesser extent.
Isolated hail storms were again a factor in
the Oliver area. Although the storms were
not widespread, they were very intense
locally, and, in some instances, 100 per cent
indemnities were paid on apple crops.
Potatoes were added to the list of insurable
vegetable crops in 1979. Nearly 1,000 acres of
potatoes in the Fraser Valley were covered.
Drought in the summer adversely affected
yields in some crops, but only one claim
Other vegetable crops such as carrots,
onions, cabbage and turnips were also
proposed for insurance coverage, but the
response was too small to justify the
installation of a program.
National Crop Insurance
British Columbia acted as host for the
biennial national conference.
About 50 delegates attended the meetings
held at the Bay shore Inn Hotel in Vancouver.
Eight members of the Crop Insurance Branch
also attended.
Stabilization Fund
A non repayable grant of $1,826,912.00 was
paid out of the stabilization fund to the Crop
Insurance Fund in March, 1979 to help offset
deficits in the grain and berry programs.
page twenty-five
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
Status of Crop Insurance Fund at March 31,1979
March 31/79 (Cr)
March 31/78 (Cr)
Current Account Balance
$ 3,014,340.31
$   546,419.00
Undistributed reserve
Due from Government of Canada
Grain Program
Tree Fruit Program
Berry Program
Grape Program
Forage Program
Vegetable Program
Crop Insurance Fund Deficit
$                   0
$                  0
Add: Advances from Stabilization Fund
$                   0
$                  0
Note: This statement shows the actual status of the Crop Insurance Fund as of March 31,
1979 and covers the period since the Fund's establishment. The above program
figures will not necessarily agree with figures at the end of the 1979 crop year.
Farm Income
The branch administers the income
assurance program comprised of a number of
commodity plans which protect producers
against income loss due to low market
returns. Plans for 12 commodities were
implemented in the period 1973 to 1977,
mostly for a term of five years. Nine of the 12
have now expired. The three remaining
plans — commercial eggs, potatoes and
raspberries — terminate following settlement
of claims to March 31, 1980 for eggs, the 1979
crop for potatoes and the 1980 crop for
The total cost to government of all plans in
the 1979 calendar year was $4,183,623, well
page tiventy-six
below the cost anticipated. Strong market
returns for most crops covered by plans
resulted in reduced indemnity payments and
in some plans, premium income. The total
cost to government since inception has been
Regulations for a second generation of
plans were approved in September, 1979 and
new plans have been implemented for tree
fruit, swine, strawberries for processing, and
peas, beans and corn for processing. Plans
for beef and broiler hatching eggs are being
developed. Requests for a second generation
of plans for blueberries, sheep and
greenhouse vegetables have been approved
 Ministry of Agriculture — 1979 Annual Report
Second generation farm income assurance plans have been implemented for a number of crops including tree fruits.
for development. A request for a plan for
grain growers in the Fraser Valley and
Okanagan is being examined.
The second generation plans differ from
the first in several respects. The plans have
no fixed term. There are maximums of
benefits payable in any one year to
participants and maximum indemnities per
unit of production. Premiums are shared
equally by producers and government and
adjusted on a moving five-year average. The
gross indemnity, formerly 75 per cent of the
deficit of market return to basic cost, is now
100 per cent of the deficit. Commodities that
have an alternative form of price
stabilization, as in dairy, are excluded from
the program. Continuous participation is
encouraged by imposing penalties on those
who reduce or postpone their participation.
Summary of Financial Activities
Farm Income Assurance Program
to Producers
or (Surplus)
Cost to
January 1/79 to
December 31/79
Since inception to
December 31/79
page hvmty-seven
 Ministry of Agriculture —1979 Annual Report
Farm Products
The Farm Products Finance Branch is
responsible for the implementation and
administration of a program of financial
assistance under the Farm Products Industry
Act which encourages and assists the
continued development of the processing
and services sectors of the agriculture
industry of British Columbia.
Since the introduction of this program in
late 1973, financial assistance totalling
approximately $45 million has been provided
to 45 agricultural organizations. During 1979,
requests for assistance were received from 53
organizations, including firms in serious
financial difficulty, groups of producers
adversely affected by physical disasters
beyond their control and firms wishing
assistance to expand their facilities but not
eligible under other assistance programs. At
year-end, loans, guarantees and
shareholdings totalling approximately $15
million were being provided or held for 13
agricultural food firms.
Early in the year, the processing plant and
hatchery of Panco Poultry was sold thus
completing the government's plan of
divesture of Panco's assets. The total gross
realization on the assets was approximately
$15 million.
The branch assisted in the finding of a
buyer for the assets of South Peace
Dehy-Products Ltd. of Dawson Creek which
had been operated in receivership on behalf
of the ministry for the 1977 and 1978 crop
years. The assets were purchased near
year-end with the new owner indicating that
the plant will be in operation for the 1980
crop year. The plant is an important
processing unit for the agricultural industry
of the Peace River area.
A plant constructed in the Fraser Valley to
produce pellets from poultry waste was
closed due to financial problems. The
ministry was required to pay out
approximately $228,000 in loan guarantees
that had been provided in 1975 under the
Farm Products Industry Act.
A honey processor in the Lower Mainland
was provided with a $100,000 low-interest
loan as part of a jointly sponsored refinancing
The Farm Products Finance program provides loan guarantees to
enable food processing firms such as this natural fruit juice
processor to expand their operations.
plan with the British Columbia Development
Late in the year, a special program of
financial assistance was made available to
elevator operators in the North Peace area to
assist them in the trucking of grains to
Dawson Creek because of the destruction by
fire of a British Columbia Railway bridge over
the Peace River. The three elevator operators
in the area accepted the assistance program
Funds continued to be provided, on a
matching basis with the federal department
of agriculture, to the B.C. Raspberry
Growers' Association and the Association of
B.C. Grape Growers. These funds are
provided under five-year programs to assist
the organizations in expanding their existing
markets, finding new markets and
developing new product forms. To December
31, 1979, the B.C. Raspberry Association had
page twenty-eight
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
received $121,168 and the Association of B.C.
Grape Growers had received $29,050 in
provincial funds under this arrangement. At
the same time, funds continued to be
provided to the Association of B.C. Grape
Growers, jointly with federal participation,
under a New Crop Development Fund
program supporting a long term program for
the introduction to the Okanagan of West
German grape varieties.
The branch continued to be involved in the
Agriculture and Rural Development
Subsidiary Agreement (ARDSA) program
through the provision of financial analysis
services to the ARDA Branch on proposals
submitted under Part IV of that agreement.
Part IV provides financial assistance to
agricultural and food firms wishing to create
new or to expand existing processing
facilities when such assistance can be shown
to be needed for the project. A total of 88
submissions were received during the year,
combined with 31 on hand at the beginning
of the year for a total of 119 submissions
under review in 1979. At year-end, financial
analysis had been completed on 46, with 43
still in process and a further 30 withdrawn,
postponed or cancelled by the applicants.
Property Management
On behalf of the provincial government,
the Property Management Branch manages
all farms and agricultural properties
administered by the Agricultural Land
The past year has seen some changes in
direction of the leasing and farm operation
programs administered by the Property
Management Branch. The maturing of the
agricultural production programs associated
with the majority of the leased properties has
allowed for rental rate reviews which reflect
increased revenue from this source. The
number of leases which carry options to
purchase has increased significantly with two
properties sold to tenants who have exercised
this privilege.
The Agricultural Land Commission
developed a new format for reporting on-site
inspections resulting in more uniform
reports. The volume of requests of this nature
to the branch remained constant during 1979.
Special Project Properties
Special project properties demanded
considerable attention. The Minnekhada
Property - #8 presented a real challenge to
establish appropriate farm programs. As of
August 1,1979 four separate tenant programs
were established, each carrying a 20-year
lease. The balance of the total property, 310
acres of non-agricultural land, was destined
for possible heritage value. An advisory
committee was formed and charged with the
responsibility of making a recommendation
to the Land Commission by April 1,1980
regarding the long-term use of this area.
The leasing of the 28 separate parcels on
the Langley Farms Property - #22 was
completed. Two of the parcels involved were
retained on one-year leases pending the
ultimate decision by other government
agencies for long-term use. The legal
re-survey of this total property was finalized
and with the completion of the registry
detail, the direct payment of property taxes
by the tenants will be possible.
The programs associated with the other
special project properties namely,
Hayes-Christson-Shaw - #48, Pearce Ranch -
#35, and Archdale-Forbes - #38, Callahan -
#49 (Vernon Effluent Spray Irrigation) were
progressing satisfactorily at year-end.
Farm Operations
The farm operations program was
enhanced during 1979 with consistent
staffing. The operation of the East Kootenay
Ranches benefited significantly from the
presence of a qualified ranch manager
throughout the year. Good progress was
made on the development phase of this
project, with approximately 200 acres of
newly seeded areas added to total available
A cattle weighing project was started in
1979 with the data gathered going to the
Faculty of Agriculture, University of British
Columbia for analysis. Gains recorded by
yearling cattle on pasture averaged 2.05 to
2.55 pounds per day. This project will
continue during 1980.
page twenty-nine
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The Minnekhada Lodge, former home of two Lieutenant-Governors of British Columbia, is being administered by the Property Management
Branch and may be developed as a heritage museum open to the public.
In April 1979 the Corrections Branch,
Ministry of Attorney-General commenced a
juvenile weekend attendance program at the
Lost Creek Ranch. These young people were
involved in work projects and
character-building activities on the ranch
property and in the surrounding community.
The membership structure of the East
Kootenay Ranches Advisory Committee was
altered to reflect a more dominant
non-government involvement. The
membership included three individuals from
the East Kootenay Livestock Association and
an equal number from the East Kootenay
Wildlife Association. The annual public field
day was held at the Steeples Ranch on
August 15,1979.
Institution Farms
The establishment of farm management
committees to promote the co-operative use
of farm resources improved operations at
Colony and Tranquille Farms.
The food production role of the farms was
maintained at levels comparable to the
immediately preceeding years. The demand
for breeding stock from the
production-tested livestock units was very
high throughout the year.
The British Columbia Buildings
Corporation was active at both farm locations
initiating and completing several projects
which have improved the physical facilities.
The corporation commissioned feasibility
studies for the Ministry of Human Resources
at Tranquille and the Ministry of Health at
Colony Farm to evaluate and recommend
major changes in the facilities. Branch
representatives also participated in these
University students provided auxiliary
help during the summer months for the farm
operations. A high percentage of the
students employed were enrolled at the
U.B.C. Faculty of Agriculture.
page thirty
Director, Specialist Services
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
Consolidation within the dairy industry
continued throughout 1979. The number of
dairy farms decreased by 31 to 1,135 at year
end. Nevertheless, farm milk sales from the
combined Milk Board areas of production
increased 5.6 per cent to 422.3 million litres.
The provincial dairy herd increased by 3 per
cent to 110,000 head of dairy cattle and young
Fluid milk retail sales in Milk Board areas of
production increased by 5.3 per cent to 287.3
million litres. Butter production was up 27
per cent to 2,673,000 kg. Cheddar cheese
production increased 33.5 per cent to
2,096,000 kg. Ice cream mix production
increased 5.6 per cent to 19.6 million litres.
Farm cash receipts from the sale of dairy
products were estimated at $143 million. Milk
used in fluid retail sales increased in value by
$5.497/hL to $42.183/hL for December, 1979.
The butterfat differential was 3l0/kg at year
end. The five-year Dairy Income Assurance
Program was completed on February 28 and
was not renewed. Supplementary payments
to dairymen from the National Dairy
Program for milk used in the manufacture of
dairy products were estimated at $7.5
million. The dairy year traditionally ran from
April 1 to March 31, however, the National
Dairy Program chose to shift the dairy year to
commence August 1, 1979 and terminate July
31, 1980. This change was intended to
Seven Year Production/Fluid Utilization Summary
For Milk Board Areas
Millions of litres
Fluid Sales
as Per
Cent of
Fluid Sales
as Per
Cent of
1979 (est)
page thirty-two
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
encourage more uniform milk production
throughout the year.
The milk quality program was continued
by means of inspection of farm premises,
transportation facilities and dairy plants, as
well as the regular monitoring of product
quality carried out at the central laboratory.
On January 1, a system of cash levies was
imposed on producers of sub-quality milk.
Warning letters were issued to 464 producers
while 128 producers were levied a total of
$36,778. This revenue was directed to the
Dairy Products Promotional Fund. The
quality of finished products improved as
96.73 per cent of all samples analyzed were in
compliance of bacterial content standards.
This compared favourably with 95.48 per cent
in 1978.
The mastitis control program gained
momentum when the B.C. Federation of
Agriculture dairy committee employed a field
technician to test and collect samples from
dairy herds. The veterinary laboratory
provided specific pathogen identification and
recommendations for the appropriate
selective antibiotic. Requests for milking
equipment analysis and checks for the
presence of tingle voltage indicated
continued producer interest in reducing the
incidence of mastitis.
To assure the safety of the milk supply, a
province-wide check for contamination by
pesticides, PCBs and heavy metals was
carried out. Tests conducted at the
environmental laboratory indicated that such
contamination was practically non-existent.
The planned production of ultra high
temperatures (UHT) dairy products received
considerable attention from all sectors of the
industry. Construction of a plant is
underway and product is expected to be
available by the mid 1980s.
m -'*►
Estimated 1979 milk production increased by 5.6 per cent to 422.3 million litres.
page thirty-three
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
D.A.T.E. Program
The D.A.T.E.(Demonstration of
Agricultural Technology and Economics)
Program continued in 1979 to fund projects
aimed at demonstrating new advances in
agricultural technology.
A biological control project was initiated to
control mites and whiteflies in greenhouses.
This project was funded under D.A.T.E. and
through Entomology-Plant Pathology Branch
funds. This technique is now widely accepted
by the greenhouse industry and has resulted
in a private commercial venture. This venture
will be financially assisted for the first five
years under the ARDSA program.
The drainage and irrigation benefit study
prompted engineering design studies for
potential water management projects. Benefit
studies were completed or were well
underway for six agricultural areas in the
Fraser Valley. Construction work was due to
start in early 1980 on one of the projects in the
Logging Ditch area.
Significant alfalfa yield increases were
demonstrated through the use of lime in the
Peace River.
The honeybee stock improvement funding
was aimed at producing an efficient
honeybee that is genetically selected for B.C.
conditions. This program could open a
market opportunity for packaged B.C. bees
as well as improve local honey production.
A biological technique that was shown to
control flies in poultry houses in the Fraser
Valley last year is now a commercial venture.
A total of 10,800 acres has now been
seeded by the 12 ft. and 9 ft. seeders
developed under the range seeder project.
The smaller 9 ft. seeder, for use with
traditional ranch equipment, was fabricated
and tested in 1979. This project was started
under D.A.T.E. and then received funding
under the DREAM Program (Agriculture
Canada), and is now funded under ARDSA
for $688,840.
The brood cow project reached the stage
where calves from the Fraser Reds have
demonstrated superior weight gain
characteristics over traditional Hereford
stock. The Fraser Reds exhibited excellent
brood cow characteristics, i.e. ease of
delivery when mated with larger exotic bulls
as well as good milk production and good
foraging potential. In 1979, 25 head of
pregnancy tested Fraser Reds were sold to an
Armstrong rancher. Performance records will
be kept on the calves from the females over
the next 3 years.
The virus-free seed potato project was
started to make available greenhouses in the
Pemberton and Cariboo areas so that growers
could propagate virus-free potato stock. Four
greenhouses were constructed in Pemberton
and an additional two have been approved
for construction in the Cariboo seed potato
The project dealing with water treatment
requirements for trickle irrigation in the
Okanagan has produced a filtration
chlorination system that minimizes "trickier"
plugging problems. With this problem solved
the advantages of trickle irrigation (reduced
power, water and labour requirements) will
gain greater acceptance in orchards and
A biological control program originally funded under DATE was
initiated to control mites and whiteflies in commercial
page thirty-four
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
In 1979 the branch continued to provide
engineering advice to the agricultural
industry on irrigation, drainage, farm
structures, waste management,
mechanization and land development. The
services were provided through workshops,
field days, extension bulletins, press articles
and direct producer contact. Over 800
assignments were handled in 1979.
Significant growth in the irrigation
industry was reflected by the 25 per cent
increase in design checks related to
government financed irrigation systems. The
trend was toward more automated irrigation
systems such as solid set sprinklers and
trickle installations for orchards and large
(giant guns) sprinkler set-ups for forage
The development of reliable water supply
systems for forage production was one of the
main concerns of the branch during the year.
A report titled "Potential for Increasing
Forage Production, South Thompson River
Benchlands" was completed.
The newly formed Irrigation Association of
B.C., with assistance from branch staff,
drafted a set of guidelines for irrigation
system design and installation.
The drainage industry continued its
dramatic growth pattern established in 1978.
The two new high-capacity drain installation
machines contributed to a record level of
acreage drained. Installations jumped from
1,000 acres in 1977 to 3,200 acres in 1979.
Branch staff made presentations to farmer
groups at short courses and seminars and
held a drainage equipment field day attended
by 145 people.
The drainage contractors responded well to
the change in branch policy regarding
detailed designs for farmers in the Fraser
Valley. Fifty-one designs were submitted for
review in connection with government
financed loan applications. The branch's
design service was primarily active on
Vancouver Island and in the North
Okanagan and the Cariboo.
The Engineering Branch was involved in 15
regional water management projects. Four of
these ARDSA funded projects were
essentially completed.
Farm Structures
Farmstead layout plans complete with
detailed structural drawings were in strong
demand. Over 1978 and 1979, there was an 85
per cent increase in plan sales. The rapid
expansion of the swine industry was
responsible for much of the increase.
The standards of farm construction
practices were investigated in one project.
Structural deficiencies were discovered
which, if corrected, could have significantly
reduced the widespread damage that
occurred during the wind storm that hit
Sumas Prairie in February.
Waste Management
The waste management advisory service is
closely related to the farm structures program
and involves the provision of up-to-date
technical advice on the storage, handling and
disposal of manure and other waste
An important function of the program is
the support provided to the Agricultural
Environmental Control Program. Work
continued during 1979 on the development
and implementation of the green zone
method of siting farm buildings.
Much of the work in the waste
management program centred on the
development of adequate technology, plans
and guidelines for the swine industry.
Mechanization and
Agricultural Land
The mechanization and land development
program emphasized rangeland renovation,
minimum tillage,, crop sprayers and forage
handling systems.
The development, testing and
demonstration of rangeland seeders
continued in 1979. A small 9-ft. range seeder
was fabricated for use with rancher owned
page thirty-five
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
equipment. During the year, over 6,000 acres
were seeded with the 12-ft and 9-ft models.
The farm machinery complaint and farm
safety programs continued to receive
Special Assignments
As well as advisory and design services,
the branch was involved in a number of
projects and special assignments.
- planning and construction supervision of
main channel upgrading at Minnekhada
Farm for the Property Management Branch
- inspection of Agricultural Land
Development Act financed land clearing
- planning and conducting three inter-agency
seminars on agriculture and fisheries
preparation of guidelines on floodproofing
farm buildings for the ministry of
preparation of environmental guidelines for
the beef industry
minimum tillage for cereal crop production
assessment of swine manure aeration
investigation of water quality of trickle
irrigation systems
development and operation of range
renovation equipment
investigation of equipment for native
meadow development
Engineering Branch staff were involved in field days to show farmers new land improvement equipment. (Photo by Sid Klassen.)
page thirty-six
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The major responsibility of the
Entomology-Plant Pathology Branch is to
provide information on controlling plant
diseases, insects and mites. The branch also
develops controls for vertebrates including
deer, rodents, moles and birds.
Throughout 1979, the staff conducted
training courses and educational programs
for farmers, orchardists, greenhouse
operators and homeowners; in addition, field
trials were carried out to evaluate pesticides
and pest control techniques.
Diagnostic and Advisory
Disease and insect diagnostic clinics for
home gardeners, commercial growers,
farmers and ministry staff were operated at
Cloverdale, Victoria and Summerland.
Throughout most of the summer, a public
information centre operated at a trailer in the
Kitsilano area of Vancouver. The centre was
staffed with summer students who answered
questions on gypsy moth and other garden
Tree Fruits and Grapes
Cold temperatures during the winter of
1978-79 reduced the level of powdery mildew
on apples in the Interior but caused extensive
injury to stone fruits and grapes in the south
Okanagan and Similkameen.
Little cherry disease continued to take its
toll. One hundred and nine infected trees
were discovered: 2 in Cawston, 46 in
Penticton, 28 in Naramata, 22 in Kelowna, 4
in Summerland and 7 in Oyama. This was
the first time the disease had been found in
Cawston and Oyama.
After years of research, Agriculture
Canada entomologists and plant pathologists
at Summerland identified apple mealybug as
the insect responsible for the spread of little
cherry disease. This major breakthrough may
be the turning point in developing effective
control techniques.
Outbreaks of two species of summer
leafrollers caused major problems in the
Okanagan and Similkameen, particularly to
cherries at Winfield and Oliver. Harvested
fruit from these areas destined for canning
had to be fumigated to destroy a heavy
infestation of leafroller larvae. Damage to
other tree fruits was minimal although some
injury occurred to apples where the first
brood codling moth spray had been omitted.
Surveys with sex pheromone traps showed
that both species of leafroller were present in
most Interior fruit growing areas.
Populations of predaceous mites reached
normal levels in Interior orchards, belying
predictions of a high winter mortality.
European red mites increased in many
districts causing extra sprays to be
Gypsy Moth - Winter Moth -
Pine Shoot Moth
In spite of strong opposition by the
Vancouver Greenpeace organization, 80 per
cent of the properties in a two block area in
the Kitsilano area of Vancouver were sprayed
with carbaryl (Sevin) to eradicate a small
infestation of gypsy moth. No moths were
collected in subsequent sex trap surveys
suggesting the infestation had been
eradicated and, thus, a major threat to British
Columbia's agricultural and forest industries
removed. Recognizing the extensive damage
this pest can cause to shrubs and trees, the
City of Vancouver played a major role in
supporting the efforts of Agriculture Canada.
This ministry participated actively in the
eradication planning and information
The winter moth continued to defoliate
ornamental trees, shrubs and fruit trees on
southern Vancouver Island. Under a ministry
grant, two species of parasites were released
in the Victoria area as part of a long term
biological control program. A small number
of winter moths was found in the Richmond
area - the first time the pest had been found
on the B.C. mainland.
Inspections for pine shoot moth at 159
nurseries on Vancouver Island and the lower
mainland revealed a marked increase over
page thirty-seven
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
1978 in both the number of nurseries infested
and the levels of infestations.
Field Crops
Alfalfa fields throughout the province were
surveyed for Verficillium wilt. This recently
introduced disease was found to be widely
distributed throughout southern British
Columbia. The most severely infected
districts were the Creston Flats and the
Similkameen Valley. Other districts where
diseased fields occurred were Kamloops,
Okanagan, Shuswap, Cranbrook, Grand
Forks, Cache Creek, Williams Lake and
Quesnel. No diseased fields were discovered
in the Peace River or Vanderhoof areas.
Disease severity varied from a few scattered
plants to 50 per cent loss of stand in
three-year old fields. Control of this disease
is difficult and it will be several years before
resistant varieties are available.
Downy mildew and white rot caused
serious loss in Fraser Valley onions. Onion
white rot had spread to all but two of the
large onion farms in the Cloverdale area. In
broccoli and brussels sprouts, downy mildew
was widespread, and root rot in beans was
becoming increasingly common.
Bacterial ring rot was found in potatoes on
several Fraser Valley crops although it did
not occur on any certified seed farms. Some
seed potatoes from the Cariboo showed
extremely high levels of witches' broom
Vertebrate Pest Control
The results of field trials conducted over
the past three years were being used to
obtain Canadian registration of a strychnine
bait for pocket gopher control and
registration of two anti-coagulants — one to
control mice and another to control ground
Three deer repellents were selected from a
large number of materials tested to minimize
the deer damage to Interior orchards.
Trials conducted in selected vineyards and
orchards showed that broadcasting distress
calls gave good protection from starlings.
Yellow flagging tape and starling distress
calls provided protection to blueberry
plantings in the Fraser Valley.
Pear Trellis Rust
During 1979 in the Fraser Valley, 4,990
junipers were inspected and 352 were
destroyed as part of the continuing pear
trellis rust survey, eradication and juniper
certification program. Ten per cent of 12,169
pear trees inspected had one or more
infections. Twelve nurseries were certified to
ship 55,000 junipers outside of the quarantine
coastal area. As a result of pear inspections,
13 nurseries were certified for 1979 -1980
shipping. Four nurseries became eligible for
the first time in 1979 while three others which
had previously been eligible lost their
Mosquito Control
Mosquito populations were average to
below average in most parts of the province.
In 1979, there were no confirmed cases of
horse or human encephalitis which is spread
by a mosquito vector.
Guidance on mosquito control was
extended to groups in Kamloops, Merritt,
Duncan, Thetis Island, MacGregor, Upper
Fraser, McKenzie and the Okanagan and
Fraser Valleys. A training program was held
for mosquito abatement personnel.
Biological Fly Control
In cooperation with the Poultry Branch, a
D.A.T.E. project was conducted on the use of
a parasitic wasp to control flies in egg poultry
operations. A parasite release rate was
formulated that appears to give optimal fly
control. It was shown that floor baits can be
used to complement fly control without
endangering the biological agents.
Greenhouse Industry
Predators and parasites to control mites
and whiteflies were reared and made
available to all greenhouse tomato and
cucumber growers. A large majority of the 49
growers that used these biological agents
expressed satisfaction with the control
page thirty-eight
 achieved. Training programs were held for
growers on the use of parasites and
predators. Progress was made in developing
methods of controlling thrips, springtails and
powdery mildew without affecting the
biological agents. In 1980, the rearing and
distribution of parasites and predators are to
be taken over by private enterprise.
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
Deer repellent trials were being tested to minimize damage that
deer inflict upon orchards in the Interior.
page thirty-nine
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The major responsibility of the Soils
Branch is to assist in protection,
maintenance, development and effective use
of the agricultural soils resource in British
Columbia. Activities of branch staff in 1979
included: soil advisory services;
demonstration of soil management
techniques and investigation of soil related
concerns; operation of the soil, feed and
tissue testing laboratory; provision of
technical services to the provincial
Agricultural Land Commission; and
administration of the Soil Conservation Act.
Advisory Services
In support of 19 potential water
management projects, information on land
use and irrigation and/or drainage design
parameters was collected to form the basis for
project designs and evaluations.
Drainage investigations were conducted on
1,500 acres and drainage designs for 35
projects were checked. Drainage construction
increased dramatically with two million feet
installed compared to nearly one million feet
in 1978.
Irrigation information on available water
holding capacity and water application rates
was provided for 500 soil samples submitted
by farmers and irrigation designers. The
irrigation scheduling program was expanded
to 30 growers in Summerland Municipality.
A pamphlet on erosion causes and control
in the Peace River area was prepared.
Soils information was provided for seven
proposed or active effluent irrigation projects
in the southern Interior.
Other advisory services included
recommendations on soil management,
fertilization, crop suitability and agricultural
Demonstration and
Staff initiated or participated in projects to
demonstrate soil and water management
techniques and in investigations of soil and
water related concerns. A processed sewage
sludge marketed as a soil conditioner was
found to contain unacceptably high amounts
of cadmium and other heavy metals. An
investigation of some turf operations in Delta
showed excessive soil removal. Specialists
advised turf growers on techniques to
minimize soil removal and maintain
long-term productivity. An ARDSA project
to determine water requirements for
irrigation was completed in the Fraser Valley.
The peak evapotranspiration rate was found
to be 5 mm/day. A survey in the Quesnel
area found most soils to be boron deficient for
alfalfa production. Methods of correcting soil
acidity in orchards were investigated and a
laboratory method for determining lime
requirements of acid orchard soils was
developed. A project to determine fertilizer
requirements of alfalfa in the Creston area
was initiated.
Soils Branch Statistics
Soil samples analyzed
Feed & tissue samples analyzed
ALR appeals investigated
page forty
 Soil, Feed and Tissue Testing
A 14 percent increase in demand for
laboratory services occurred in 1979. About
15,500 soil samples and 9,000 feed and tissue
samples were received. Of the soil samples
submitted, 80 per cent were from growers
requesting fertilizer and lime
recommendations and 20 per cent were in
support of demonstration and applied
research projects, related to soil fertility and
plant nutrition. Sixty per cent of the feed and
tissue samples were from growers and 40 per
cent from project and diagnostic work related
to soil fertility, plant nutrition and animal
A year-long project was undertaken to
develop a selenium analysis procedure for
plant and animal tissue. Three thousand
samples from throughout B.C. were
Land Commission Technical
Technical services to the provincial
Agricultural Land Commission on soils,
agricultural capability, land use and related
matters were provided in 1979.
The branch was requested to provide
information relative to 104 appeals
to the commission for exclusion
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
from or non-agricultural use within1 the
Agricultural Land Reserves. As a result of
the requests, 63 on-site inspections and
reports, detailing land use and capability for
agriculture, were made.
Due to the volume of appeals from various
areas, the commission requested eight area"
reviews totalling 10,000 acres. Updated land
capability reports and maps were prepared
for each area.
Soil Conservation
The branch continued to assist local
governments and the provincial Agricultural
Land Commission with administration of the
Soil Conservation Act. Upon request, 30
on-site inspections and reports were made
relative to applications for soil removal from
or placement of fill on land within
Agricultural Land Reserves. Reports
contained recommendations on whether or
not to permit the applications and, if
permitted, details on acceptable removal and
filling procedures and methods for site
Demand for laboratory services in analyzing soil, feed and tissue samples increased by 14 per cent during 1979.
page forty-one
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The Veterinary Branch, including the
laboratory, brands and field veterinary
divisions, carries out duties under the
Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act,
Pharmacy Act, Fur Farm Act, Meat
Inspection Act, Laboratories Act, Livestock
Public Sales Act, Brands Act, Pound District
Act and Trespass Act.
Branch staff carry out programs to control
the spread of disease, provide a diagnostic
service, provide information on the treatment
and prevention of disease, provide for and
control the distribution of veterinary drugs
and biologies, oversee the sale and
distribution of meat and meat products in the
designated areas and provide a brand
inspection service.
Veterinary Service Districts
In remote areas of the province, veterinary
service districts are supported by the ministry
to assist veterinary practitioners in becoming
established where a potential for a viable
livestock industry exists. Over the 22 years
since the policy was initiated, 28 agreements
have been signed in 15 areas which resulted
in the establishment of 11 self-supporting
practices. One district was added in 1979 in
the Clearwater area and three more received
continued support.
Meat Inspection
One more abattoir, in the designated area,
qualified under the Federal/Domestic Meat
Inspection program, bringing the total for
1979 to six.
Disease Situation
The testing of Aleutian disease in mink
continued and, although the number of
positive animals detected by the serological
testing procedures increased, there was little,
if any, increase in the number of infected
premises. A few cases of distemper were
diagnosed but the losses were not significant.
Infectious laryngotracheitis (I.L.T.) of
poultry was still a problem in the Fraser
Valley and is expected to remain so as long as
the industry continues administering the
available ocular vaccine in the drinking
water; this does not produce a firm
immunity. A problem encountered during
the summer with the marketing of
"spent-fowl" was aggravated by the fact that
neither Alberta nor Washington state would
accept birds from the Fraser Valley for
processing because of the presence of I.L.T.
Pressure by the industry to control the
disease by the recommended method of
administration of the vaccine, adequate
management practices and control of
movement could result in complete
Hemophilus parahemolyticus, a bacteria
which causes acute pneumonia and death in
swine, was isolated for the first time in British
Columbia. As a result of cooperation by the
herd owner and the owner of a contact herd,
both herds were depopulated by slaughter
Veterinary Branch Statistics
Laboratory Specimens
Brand Inspections - Cattle
Cattle exported
page forty-two
 and marketing. The premises were cleaned
and disinfected and were to remain empty for
two to three months prior to repopulation.
Mycoplasma mastitis was detected in four
dairy herds in 1978 and 1979.
The Health of Animals Branch of
Agriculture Canada announced on June 28,
1979 that British Columbia and the Peace
River area of Alberta had been declared a
Brucellosis-free region. The Maritime
provinces are the only other area of Canada
that has achieved this status. Regulations
now require that cattle entering the region
from other parts of Canada adhere to more
stringent federal testing procedures.
Provincial brand inspectors assisted
Agriculture Canada and RCMP officials in the
checking of permits at border crossing points,
weigh scales and on the open highway. No
cases of bluetongue in cattle, sheep or
wildlife were diagnosed in the province in
1979, nor were any cases of rabies reported.
Assistance to V.I.D.O.
An agreement was made to match dollar
for dollar donations from the livestock or
poultry industry in British Columbia to the
Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organization
(V.I.D.O.). It is a privately funded research
organization situated on the campus at the
University of Saskatchewan and operates in
close cooperation with the Western College
of Veterinary Medicine. The organization's
work on the production of a calf scour
vaccine has proven successful and the
product is to be available in spring of 1980.
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
During the fiscal years 1977-78 and 1978-79,
the ministry matched contributions to the
sum of $23,800 and in 1979-80, a further
$6,700 will be contributed.
PCB Feed Contamination
In June, 1979 an industrial accident
occurred at a rendering plant in Billings,
Montana resulting in the contamination of
tallow by poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Some of this tallow was imported into the
Fraser Valley by three feed companies,
resulting in the distribution of contaminated
poultry feed, including pheasant feed.
The ministry cooperated with the federal
departments of Agriculture and Health and
Welfare which took the responsibility to
ascertain whether already processed poultry,
or that to be processed, was acceptable for
human consumption. None of the poultry in
storage, birds to be processed nor eggs were
found to be above the actionable tolerance set
by Health and Welfare.
Unfortunately, the pheasants, which had
been fed a turkey ration with added fat, did
contain levels well above the actionable levels
and those in storage were destroyed, while
those still on feed were not acceptable for
As an off-shoot to the poultry problem,
because of the high percentage of poultry
products in mink rations, the mink industry
indirectly became involved. It is well
established that mink are probably the most
susceptible species to PCB toxicity, which
results in either death or impaired fertility,
the latter often resulting in complete loss of
all kits born. Through the cooperation of
Agriculture Canada, all mink from ranches in
In mid-1979, British Columbia was declared a brucellosis-free region.
page forty-three
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
the Fraser Valley were tested for PCB content
in their fat and other tissues and, as well,
stored feed and feed ingredients. PCBs were
also found in some ingredients, particularly
in fish.
Veterinary Laboratory
In 1979 there were 7,300 submissions
which, though only a small increase over the
previous year, resulted in a marked increase
in the number of individual specimens, from
42,000 to 72,000 (71 per cent), as well as a
significant increase (12 per cent) in the
number of laboratory diagnoses and
findings. Because of this increase in
laboratory procedures performed, it was
necessary to curtail some of the work,
particularly that in virology, previously
performed on dog and cat specimens. Work
in toxicology was limited due to a revamping
of available fume hoods, air handling and
installation of a new perchloric acid hood.
Some of the projects that the laboratory
was involved in were:
*Specific Pathogen-free Turkeys
Turkey hatching-egg antibiotic treatments
resulted in a flock free from Arizona,
Salmonella and Mycoplasma pathogens. This
was a cooperative project with the Poultry
*Dairy Mastitis Survey
Mastitis in dairy herds results in significant
milk production losses. In cooperation with
the Dairy Branch and practising
veterinarians, the mastitis survey initiated in
1978 was continued, using
the California Mastitis
Test (CMT) as an
initial indicator /
of a mastitis
*Detecting Salmonella-infected
Breeder Flocks
In cooperation with the Poultry Branch,
samples were collected from 46 poultry flocks
to determine the presence of Salmonella and
evaluate effective control procedures.
Brand Inspection
The standard of service provided under the
brand inspection program in the prescribed
area was maintained throughout 1979, while
the actual enforcement of the brand
regulations throughout the province was
increased. Road patrols were instituted to
check vehicles transporting cattle and horses
in the Interior and, with this increased
activity, the number of infractions under the
Stock Brands Act that were encountered
dropped 45 per cent over the year. This
would indicate a greater understanding and
compliance with the brand regulations by
those involved in the industry.
There was a slight decrease in the
workload experienced in 1979. Statistics
showed an 8.1 per cent decrease in the
number of cattle inspections completed while
there was a 67.7 per cent increase in the
number of horses inspected at public sales
(1,470 to 2,465). The number of livestock
slaughtered in plants not under inspection
showed a 9.6 per cent decrease.
The number of horned cattle to which the
$2 penalty applied dropped from 14,398 to
8,266 (42.6 per cent),
which represented
only 3.1 per cent
of the total cattle
inspected in
There was a marked increase of 71 per cent in the number of individual specimens submitted to the veterinary laboratory for analysis.
page forty-four
 Ministry of Agriculture—1979 Annual Report
Youth Development
The branch is responsible for the
development and delivery of the 4-H and
farm vacation programs in British Columbia.
It is also the provincial coordinator for the
International Agricultural Exchange
Association (IAEA).
4-H Program
4-H provides young people with unique
educational and recreational opportunities.
The program is open to boys and girls from
nine to 19 years of age, with local leadership
provided by volunteers. Members are
encouraged to develop skills in many areas;
e.g. technical project skills and
communication skills such as public
During 1979, members participated in a
variety of travel and exchange programs in
addition to their regular project and club
work. "Children's Rights" was the theme of
the Ottawa Citizenship Seminar and "Energy
Use in the Food System" was the focus of the
National 4-H Conference. The Summer Work
Exchange saw B.C. paired with Prince
Edward Island and the Interprovincial 4-H
Exchange allowed 4-H'ers to visit every other
province in Canada. There was also
participation in the Western Provinces 4-H
Seminar, the B.C. - Oregon Exchange, the
Western Provinces 4-H Judging Seminar and
the National 4-H Conference in Washington,
During 1979, the 4-H community raised
money for the B.C. 4-H Foundation. A
cooperative fund-raising drive with the
Canadian 4-H Foundation resulted in the
raising of $50,000 in cash and pledges. The
B.C. 4-H Foundation co-sponsored the first
Intermediate 4-H Seminar, "Foundation
One". For the first time, 4-H members 13 and
14 years of age were able to participate in a
major provincial 4-H event.
The Provincial 4-H Demonstration contest,
designed to teach public speaking and
demonstration skills, was held separately
from the Pacific National Exhibition for the
first time in 1979.
The Farm Safety Program was carried on in
part of the Peace River area in the spring of
1979. This program of safety awareness
involved the visiting of farms and the posting
of danger area signs by 4-H members.
In 1979, the first National 4-H Leaders'
Conference was held in Toronto with five
leaders from each province participating. The
conference was sponsored by the Canadian
4-H Foundation.
Youth Development Branch
Program Participation Statistics
4-H Programs - members
- clubs
- leaders
- number of guests
- vacation days
I.A.E.A. - trainees to B.C.
- trainees from B.C.
page forty-five
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
The B.C. 4-H Executive Council continued
to develop as the policy-making body for 4-H
in the province.
Farm Vacation Program
In 1979, over 600 people took vacations on
British Columbia farms and ranches.
Vacations averaged five days for a total of
3,175 vacation days taken. A list of farm
vacation hosts was prepared and distributed.
In addition to providing urban people with a
unique holiday, this program also provides
farmers and ranchers with an additional
source of revenue.
International Agricultural
Exchange Association Program
Over 15 countries participate in this
program through which the participants live
and work with farm families in order to learn
about the agriculture and lifestyle of their
In 1979, 33 trainees from Australia, New
Zealand and European countries were hosted
on British Columbia farms. Eleven young
people from British Columbia travelled to
Australia and New Zealand in the fall of 1979
to start a six-month program there. The
Youth Development Branch coordinates the
selection of trainees and hosts for the
I.A.E.A. program in British Columbia.
This steer was raised by the Ashton Creek 4-H Beef Club as a fund raising project for the B.C. 4-H Foundation.
page forty-six
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Director, Prod
uction Services
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The Apiculture Branch provides
specialist services and advice to the honey
industry, fruit and seed growers and
government personnel. Its work covers three
main areas: extension, regulation and
The total honey crop during 1979 was 2,556
metric tonnes (5,633,491 lb.), an increase of
560 tonnes (1,235,491 lb.) over the 1978 crop.
Active beekeepers in the province
numbered 5,258, a moderate increase over
1978. Indications are that the numbers of
beekeepers and hives are levelling off after
the dramatic increases of the early to
Wholesale and retail prices for honey
continued to improve. Prices for British
Columbia honey are expected to hold their
own and, depending on world prices, may
Total value of the honey crop was
$4,403,691; beeswax, $228,852; and pollen,
$144,000, for a total of $4,776,543. It is
generally considered that the value of
honey-bees as pollinators is at least 15 times
the value of the honey crop.
For the fourth year, honey producers in
British Columbia were given assistance to
compensate for hive damage by bears and
subsequent loss of crop.
This assistance was provided under the
"Beeyard-Bear Protection Incentive
Program". Financial assistance was provided
in the form of grants to honey producers to
assist in the construction of bear-proof
electric fences or other satisfactory protective
In spite of protective devices, beekeepers
experienced a loss of $71,500 from bear
There was a sharp decrease in the
incidence of American foulbrood disease,
down from 3.43 per cent of colonies
inspected in 1978 to 1.38 per cent in 1979. All
other bee diseases were down, with the
exception of European foulbrood. This
disease had been confined to the Fraser
Valley and Peace River areas. However, for
the first time, infected hives were found on
Vancouver Island and in the southern
interior valleys of B.C..
British Columbia beekeepers continued to
provide a valuable pollination service to fruit
growers through the offices of the Okanagan
Valley Pollination Association and the Fraser
Valley Pollinator's Association. Nine
thousand hives were rented to growers at an
average cost of $19.37 per hive.
The second year of a three-year D.A.T.E.
project, "Bee Breeding and Honeybee Stock
Improvement" was completed. This
important project is intended to develop
breeding stock from which honey producers
can produce desirable queens for good
wintering, increased honey production and
gentleness. It will also provide a reservoir of
honeybee breeding stock which will be free of
African/Brazilian hybrid genes.
A recent report of the discovery of a very
dangerous mite, Varroa jacobsoni, in
Maryland, U.S.A. provides further evidence
of the need for an isolated honeybee
sanctuary area in British Columbia.
Inspecting a colony of honeybees under treatment for control of
Chalkbrood, a serious fungus disease of honeybees.
page forty-eight
 A total of 475 queens from our Italian and
Carniolan stock was selected and distributed
to cooperating British Columbia producers
for evaluation.
A total of 150 hives was overwintered in a
controlled atmosphere building at
Cloverdale. This building is being used to
overwinter hives of various sizes from
four-frame nuclei to twenty-frame standard
hives. Breeding stock from New Zealand has
been introduced into four-frame nuclei as
early as February. This is a record for early
queen introduction.
Honeybee tissue and pollen were
diagnosed for the presence of heavy metals
and, in one area, radon gas. In some areas,
higher than normal concentrations of heavy
metals were found in both tissue and pollen.
For the sixth consecutive year,
experimental apiaries were located at interior
fireweed areas of British Columbia. Bear
protective devices were tested and honey
production recorded. It is possible to protect
apiaries from bear predation by means of
electric fences and specially designed pallets
on which the hives are placed and covered
with chain link fencing.
Honey production from fireweed
continued to offer exciting possibilities for
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
increased production. In many areas it
averaged over 90.7 kg (200 lb.) per hive.
Other project work included the study of
methods of controlling Chalkbrood disease in
honeybees, pollination of blueberries,
strawberries, raspberries, sweet cherries and
pears, fumigation of diseased beehive
equipment, comparison of consumption of
stores by colonies overwintered under indoor
and outdoor conditions, scale hive records of
honey production, blooming dates of honey
plants and an investigation into
bee-poisoning by nectar from Timber Milk
Using the leafcutter bee on a five-acre field
of alfalfa near Kelowna, a total of 136.5 kg
(300 lb.) of clean seed per acre was produced.
Dr. Cam Jay of the University of Manitoba
worked with Apiculture Branch staff on a
study of honeybee pollination activities in
sweet cherry and pear orchards in Kelowna.
A member of the Apiculture Branch
continued to chair a national committee of
the Canadian Honey Council and the
Canadian Association of Professional
Apiculturists. This committee acts in an
advisory capacity to the federal Health of
Animals Branch and is concerned with
importation of disease-free honeybee stock
into Canada.
Feeding medicated syrup to honeybee colonies being used in an experiment to control Chalkbrood, a serious fungus disease of honeybees.
page forty-nine
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
Development and
The Development and Extension Branch is
the primary delivery system for extending
knowledge to B.C. agricultural producers on
crop and livestock production, farm business
management and marketing. Extension of
knowledge is undertaken on a planned basis,
at both the regional and district levels. The
branch has 18 district offices, each of which
has a district agriculturist and support staff to
provide extension services to producers.
Extension Programs
In 1979, modern extension methods were
used to identify needs upon which effective
extension programs were developed.
Regional extension programs were
coordinated and conducted by commodity
core extension committees consisting of
representatives of various ministry of
agriculture branches with an interest in the
community. Commodity core committees
have been established to direct extension
programs for the dairy, swine and forage
District extension programs were planned
and developed to serve the unique needs of
farmers in each district. In district and
regional extension programs, demonstration
plots, field days, seminars, workshops,
district newsletters, radio and television were
used. Specific on-farm advice was provided
to more than 3,500 individual producers.
About 20,000 farmers were counselled in the
branch's district offices.
Forage crop extension programs received
the highest allocation of extension time.
Forage crop production and utilization was
recognized as the key to successful livestock
production in terms of pasture, range and
stored forages. Extension programs focused
on all aspects of forage management
including soil fertility, varieties, harvesting,
storing and utilization.
Alfalfa production received primary
emphasis as opportunities existed to expand
production of this crop. The identification of
Verticillium wilt disease in many stands of
alfalfa throughout the province indicated the
need for development of resistant strains
through research and the testing of foreign
District Agriculturists work directly with farmers in crop planning, financial planning and management.
page fifty
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
Range and pasture extension activities
were conducted, in some cases, in association
with coordinated resource management
planning of rangelands. Annual meetings of
community pasture user groups featured
presentations on pasture management. The
community pasture extension project on
Sunset Prairie demonstrated methods of
pasture renovation, livestock rotational
grazing systems, pasture forage variety and
fertility trials and brush control. Other
extension activities associated with field
crops included participation on weed control
committees, soil erosion committees,
Provincial Seed Fair, interpretation of soil
analysis results and advice on control of
weeds, insects and diseases.
Livestock extension programs were
directed mainly towards dairy, beef, sheep
and swine producers. The dairy and swine
extension core committees were particularly
active during the year. The committees
conducted programs on dairy business
management seminars, dairy and forage
short courses, manure handling field days
and a swine producer seminar.
Workshops on beef management were
held in a number of districts during which
nutrition, breeding and animal health were
discussed. A seminar on beef marketing was
held in the Peace River area. A series of
workshops on financial management for beef
producers was presented throughout the
province. These were initiated by the B.C.
Cattlemen's Association in cooperation with
field staff of the Development and Extension
A number of new swine production units
commenced operation in 1979. Increased
interest in swine production resulted in many
inquiries to district offices. The district office
in Chilliwack was particularly busy in
providing assistance to new and expanding
producers to help them conform to the green
zone by-law implemented by Chilliwack
Municipality. Staff gave advice on siting,
manure disposal, management and
Livestock Improvement
Record of Performance programs for beef,
sheep and swine continued as important
tools for livestock improvement. Weighings
were supervised, with assistance as required
from brand inspectors. Emphasis was placed
on interpretation and use of performance
data for improving basic herds.
The Demonstration of Agricultural
Technology and Economics (DATE) program,
through which the Fraser Red Brood Cow
Development Project was undertaken,
continued to progress. All Fraser Red heifers
born in 1978 were bred to Simmental bulls.
Twenty-five head of pregnancy tested
animals were sold to an Armstrong rancher
who will record data on performance of
calves born to Fraser Red cows. This will be a
test of the ranging capacity of the Fraser Red
Farm Business Management
The branch interpreted Canfarm annual
reports for producers enrolled in the
program. Extension meetings were
conducted in cooperation with the Farm
Economics Branch on estate planning, tax
management and other financial topics.
Steadily increasing costs of production
made producers realize their need to
understand and use sound economic
principles. Two related projects involving the
branch were undertaken in cooperation with
the Farm Economics Branch and the B.C.
Cattlemen's Association. These projects were
the cattlemen's financial management course
and the mobile farm management clinic. Both
projects proved to be successful and
stimulated interest among producers who
wished to enhance their skills in financial
management. As a result of experience and
support received in these projects, a
three-year ARDSA funded project was
initiated in 1979 to provide financial
management training to producers of all
major commodities. Twenty-four courses
were conducted with five separate
commodity groups during the fall and winter
of 1979-80.
Resource Liaison Activities
The branch continued to assume greater
responsibilities in inter-agency resource
planning, both at headquarters and in the
field. Many ministries and agencies have
policies, programs and projects which affect
the agricultural land resource and
agricultural activity in the province. To
safeguard agriculture, field staff of the branch
represented the ministry on seven regional
resource management committees, nine
page fifty-one
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
problem wildlife management committees
and 27 regional district technical committees.
The branch was involved in land use
planning activities including establishment of
provincial forests, range improvement plans,
coordinated resource management plans
(range), crown land plans and official
regional and settlement plans. Referrals from
the Agricultural Land Commission were
directed to field staff, via the property
management branch, for comment on the
impact that exclusions or inclusions to the
agricultural land reserve would have on
Green Zone Program
The green zone committee was established
in January, 1977, and consists of
representatives of the ministries of
Agriculture and Municipal Affairs,
Agricultural Land Commission and the B.C.
Federation of Agriculture. The purpose of the
green zone program is to resolve
agriculture/urban conflicts and to aid in the
removal of unnecessary by-law restrictions
on agricultural land within the agricultural
land reserve.
The approach taken by the committee was
to develop model by-laws by farm
commodity and to present them to local
governments for adoption. Model by-laws
for swine and feedlots were developed in
1979. The by-laws contain sections on
physical separation distances between
livestock users and neighbours. They also
specify other performance criteria such as
ventilation, manure storage capacity and, in
some cases, aeration, animal density and
surface material. By adhering to such criteria,
the livestock producer is assured the
opportunity to conduct his operation without
offence to neighbours. These criteria are
accompanied by the same requirement for
distance separation applied to encroachment
by rural residents and other neighbouring
The program had wide exposure in the
province, sometimes against a background of
intense community prejudice. Model by-laws
have been adopted or are being adopted by
three municipalities, and nine regional
districts have been introduced to the green
zone concept. The concept is quite innovative
and requires considerable exposure before
adoption can be expected.
Range and pasture extension activities including animal health
were conducted in the coordinated resource management planning
of rangeland. (Photo by Sid Klassen.)
Fort Nelson Development
Fort Nelson agricultural development and
extension work was guided by the Fort
Nelson field advisory committee consisting of
BCMA and Agriculture Canada
representatives. During 1979, the Fort Nelson
Agricultural Association was formed to serve
as a local advisory group to the extension
committee. Branch staff undertook numerous
extension activities: a field day to
demonstrate land clearing techniques, land
development and drainage; preparation of a
bulletin and slide-tape presentation with
special application to the region;
establishment of a demonstration plot to test
the forage and cereal potential of the area;
establishment of experimental plots to test
forage seed production in regular seeding
and in drill strips; and establishment of a
rod-row fertility trial.
During 1979, the Agricultural Land
Commission reviewed the Fort Nelson
agricultural land reserve, the resource
analysis branch conducted a soil survey to
develop agriculture and forestry capability
maps and the land management branch
developed a proposal for 55 rural
subdivisions and 10 market garden leases.
One lot (1684) was reserved especially for
agricultural development and extension
page fifty-two
 Farm Economics
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The Farm Economics Branch provides
assistance to farm managers, commodity
groups, farm organizations and Ministry of
Agriculture staff who request guidance on
farm business planning and organization,
financial management, farm records and
business analysis systems, economic analysis
of production costs and proposed
development projects. To accomplish its
objectives, the branch publishes booklets and
factsheets on selected topics, conducts
economic studies and surveys, provides
instructors for short courses and workshops,
provides leadership in the delivery of farm
record systems and advanced farm planning
techniques and offers individual client
counselling in the economic and business
management area. The branch also is
responsible for all data processing activities
of the Ministry of Agriculture.
During 1979, the following activities were
carried out to assist farm managers and their
advisors in the area of farm business
1. The Mobile Farm Management Clinic (funded
by ARDSA), organized in 1978, delivered
eight 4-day farm financial managment
courses to 80 beef producers in several
areas of the province, using a mobile
classroom facility.
2. The Farm Financial Management Training
Project (funded by ARDSA) was organized
to build on the success of the Mobile Farm
Management Clinic Project. The new
project will deliver three levels of four-day
financial management courses to various
commodity groups on a province-wide
basis over the next three years. The project
Farm management specialists prepare financial management
programs to assist farmers in their operational planning.
is managed by a committee representing
the University of British Columbia, the
B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, ARDSA and
the British Columbia Federation of
3. A test of the use of micro computers in farm
business management analysis and
advisory work commenced in 1979 and will
continue in 1980. This project tests the
available micro computers and software to
determine their appropriateness for farm
business management work.
4. A publication entitled "Wills for B.C.
Farmers" was compiled to provide
guidance to farm business managers and
their advisors on the topic of wills in the
agricultural sector.
5. The publications "Taxation and the B.C.
Farmer - Layman's Guide" and "Taxation
and the B.C. Farmer - Advisor's Guide"
were updated to reflect changes in taxation
legislation that occurred in 1979.
6. Twenty-three issues of the "Farm Business
Management Factsheet" on current topics
were researched, compiled and released.
7. A machinery planning package entitled
"Farm Machinery - Financial Planning"
was finalized and released. This package
consists of five worksheets to assist the
farm manager with the financial analysis
and planning of his farm machinery
8. A survey of private farm leases was
organized to determine the economic cost
and business management practices that
are used by farm managers in lease
situations. A total of 369 private lease
situations was documented through this
The branch offered the Canfarm records
system to farm managers in British
Columbia. This system provides farm
managers with financial and physical records
that can be analyzed to determine
management and production strategies or
can be used for tax purposes, arrangement of
financing, setting up of business agreements
and for estate planning purposes.
During 1979 the federal government
transferred its responsibilities for the
Canfarm program to a new farmer-owned
cooperative - Canfarm Co-operative Services
Ltd. The transfer of federal responsibilities
page fifty-three
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
resulted in a substantial increase in fees to
farmers for the Canfarm records system, and
a drop in enrolment on the Canfarm program
in 1979.
The number of farms using farm records
systems offered by the B.C. Ministry of
Agriculture for the past three years is
summarized in Table 1. For 1979, this
enrolment reflects the Canfarm program
The branch continued to gather farm input
(factor) cost data from suppliers on a monthly
Table 1: Comparison of 1977,1978 and 1979 Farm Record
System Enrolment by Agricultural Reporting Area
Agricultural Reporting Area
Vancouver Island
Peace River
Table 2: Published Reports of Producers'
Consensus Costs and Returns
Pollination and Honey Production
(update and revision)
Southern Interior
200-Hive Apiary (update and revision)
Peace River
1500-Hive Apiary (update and revision)
Peace River
Uplands Timothy - Clover and Wetland
Reed Canary Grass
Williams Lake
Dairy Replacment Heifers
Cowichan Valley
Dairy Replacement Heifers
Fraser Valley
Alfalfa and Grass Hay
Summerfallow, Rapeseed, Wheat, Barley and
Creeping Red Fescue Seed
North Peace River
Summerfallow, Rapeseed, Barley, Wheat, Alfalfa
and Creeping Red Fescue Seed
South Peace River
Summerfallow, Alsike Clover, Rapeseed, Barley
and Oats
South Peace River
500-Hive Apiary
Vancouver Island
Mushroom Production
Fraser Valley
Lettuce, Cabbage and Carrot Production
Fraser Valley
Onions, Lettuce, Cabbage and Carrot Production
Fraser Valley
page fifty-four
 Ministry of Agriculture—1979 Annual Report
basis. During 1979, this information was
collected on approximately 60 input items for
the mainland agriculture reporting region.
An analysis of the data was distributed to 90
potential users and a positive response was
received. Work was initiated on the computer
system required to analyze the survey data so
that the project can be expanded to other
agriculture reporting areas.
The branch responded to requests to carry
out feasibility studies on proposed drainage
and irrigation projects in the Fraser Valley.
The branch was asked to carry out
benefit-cost analysis on several proposed
projects. Projects where benefit-cost analysis
was completed or is ongoing include:
1. a proposed drainage and irrigation
scheme for the Nicomekl-Serpentine area
2. a proposed irrigation project in the
Cowichan area
3. a proposed drainage and irrigation
scheme in the East Delta area
4. a proposed drainage and irrigation project
for the Burroughs Ditch area
5. a proposed drainage and irrigation project
in the Crescent Slough area
6. the proposed Steveston drainage and
irrigation project
7. the proposed drainage project in the East
Chilliwack area
8. the proposed drainage and irrigation
project in the East Richmond area
The branch continued to liaise with the
B.C. Systems Corporation and coordinate the
development and use of computer systems
within the Ministry of Agriculture. During
1979, a number of data processing projects
were transferred to the B.C. Systems
Corporation. These projects were upgraded
to B.C. Systems Corporation's standards,
documented, implemented and put in a
production situation. In addition, several
projects were proposed and feasibility
studies conducted on them.
The major projects that involved computer
data processing include:
1. Dairy Herd Improvement Analysis
Program (Livestock Branch)
2. Interest Reimbursement Program
(Agricultural Credit Branch)
3. Feed Analysis Program (Livestock
4. 4-H Statistics Program (Youth
Development Branch)
5. British Columbia Farm Business Analysis
Branch (Farm Economics Branch)
6. Green Zone Project (Development and
Extension Branch and Engineering
7. Animal Pathology Program (Veterinary
8. Consensus Data Studies Project (Farm
Economics Branch)
9. Agricultural Input Cost Survey (Farm
Economics Branch)
10. Egg Production Forecasting Project
(Poultry Branch)
11. Soil Statistics Project (Soils Branch)
12. Brands Registration Project (Veterinary
13. Market Information Project (Marketing
14. Lease Survey Project (Farm Economics
15. Crop Insurance Data Base (Crop
Insurance Branch)
16. Intercensus Statistics Project (Policy
Development and Planning Service)
17. Farm Expenses and Receipts (Policy
Development and Planning Service)
The branch upgraded the data-capturing
equipment at the dairy laboratory and the
soils laboratory. Computer terminals were
placed in a number of district offices, the
Marketing Services Branch and the
headquarters unit to provide better access to
computer systems for ministry staff.
The Farm Economics Branch has a member
on the Interprovincial Committee on Supply
Management and Quota Values and is
represented on the Management Committee
to the Federal/Provincial Feed Freight
Assistance Adjustment Fund Agreement.
During 1979, the branch represented the
B.C. Ministry of Agriculture on several
regional and national committees relating to
the work area. The branch participated in
meetings of the Expert Committee on Farm
Management Services, the Canada
Committee on Socio-Economic Services, the
British Columbia Farm Business
Management Advisory Committee, the
Western Farm Management Extension
Committee and a number of Regional
Extension Core Committees.
page fifty-five
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
Field Crops
The principal function of the Field Crops
Branch is to increase the skills of producers in
field crop production and management,
range management and weed control by
conducting applied research and extension
programs. The branch also administers the
Weed Control Act.
In general, production of most field crops
was good as a result of warm dry weather in
most areas and exceptionally good harvesting
conditions during 1979. However,
unirrigated crops in most Interior areas were
below normal in yields. The condition of
ranges was fairly good due to only moderate
rainfall. There was inadequate rainfall during
the autumn which could be detrimental to
1980 range conditions. Yields of cereal crops
in the Peace River region were above average
because of good moisture conditions.
Forage Crop Production
According to Statistics Canada, total
provincial production was estimated at 1.9
million tons of hay equivalent from 650,000
acres, which is similar to 1978 hay
production. Prices of B.C. produced hay
ranged from $60 to $100 per ton depending
upon the source and quality.
Numerous fertilizer and variety trials of
alfalfa and grass varieties were carried out
during the year. A typical example was the
lime demonstration on alfalfa fields near
Dawson Creek. Limed areas yielded 2.2 tons
of hay per acre compared to 1.0 ton per acre
on the no-lime check strips. Other forage
crop trials included the demonstration of new
alfalfa varieties in the Interior, establishment
of replicated variety trials of orchardgrass
and perennial ryegrass varieties at Ladner
and Sumas, establishment of a forage
mixture demonstration at Fort Nelson, etc.
A new disease of alfalfa, verticillium wilt,
was identified. Verticillium wilt is a fungus
disease formerly believed to be established
only in Europe. However, it was identified
on samples of alfalfa submitted from the
Keremeos and Creston areas. It was found
that the disease was established on one-third
of the fields sampled as far north as Quesnel
although it had not yet spread to the Central
or Peace River areas. Research was planned
in conjunction with the Creston substation of
Field Crop specialists carried out numerous fertility trials
including this lime demonstration trial on alfalfa near Dawson
Creek. Limed areas yielded double that of non-limed areas Oighter
coloured vertical strips in aerial photo).
the Agriculture Canada Research Station at
Lethbridge, Alberta.
Silage Corn Production
Good growing conditions resulted in high
yields in most corn producing areas. Planted
acreage increased slightly to nearly 24,000
acres with an average yield of 20 tons green
weight per acre.
The branch conducted numerous regional
corn trials throughout the province in an
effort to study techniques to improve dry
matter content. Recommendations issued
annually by the B.C. Corn Committee have
assisted growers in the selection of hybrids
suited for their locations.
Cereal and Oilseed Production
Production of oats and barley continued to
decline while rapeseed acreage increased
dramatically to 270,371 acres, up 51 per cent
from 1978. Virtually all of the rapeseed was
grown in the Peace River area. Rapeseed
yields, however, were not as high as
anticipated, at 15.3 bushels per acre, due to
disease and insect infestations.
Grain prices were considerably stronger in
1979 which could result in a swing back to
grain production and a corresponding
decrease in rapeseed production in 1980.
The branch conducted a large number of
variety and fertilizer trials throughout the
province. The remote sensing project LACIE
page fifty-six
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
(Large Area Crop Inventory Experiment) was
continued in the Dawson Creek area in
conjunction with the Canadian Centre for
Remote Sensing, Ottawa. This project
involves the use of a satellite to photograph
large land areas and thus determine crop
varieties and acreage over a specific area.
On a province-wide basis, estimated 1979
acreage and yields of cereals and oilseeds
were as follows:
1. Springwheat  80,000
2. Oats 50,000
3. Barley 130,000
4. Rye 10,000
5. Rapeseed      270,400
37.5 bushels/acre
66.0 bushels/acre
46.2 bushels/acre
33.0 bushels/acre
15.3 bushels/acre
The Canadian Seed Growers Association
reported that there were approximately 1,900
inspected acres of cereals and oilseeds
produced specifically for seed.
Numerous cereal variety and fertilizer trials
were conducted throughout the province to
determine the best use of specific varieties in
certain areas.
Forage Seed Production
There was a substantial increase in acreage
of creeping red fescue to 24,985 acres from
9,500 acres the previous year. For the first
time, acreage in B.C. exceeded that of
Alberta. The accurate determination of this
acreage would not have been possible
without using remote sensing techniques.
Prices also improved substantially to 600 per
pound in 1979.
Production of creeping red fescue seed
ranked number one at about 7.5 million
pounds followed by alsike clover at 1.3
million pounds and timothy at 1.2 million
pounds. Yields ranged from 250 to 300
pounds per acre in most cases. Total acreage
of forage seed increased to 41,633 acres
compared to 36,100 acres in 1978. Pedigreed
seed acreage nearly doubled to 8,911 acres in
1979. B.C. now ranks fourth among
Canadian provinces in pedigreed forage seed
Branch staff were instrumental in the
establishment of large scale alfalfa seed
projects using the leafcutter bee for
pollination. The branch also assisted in
establishing a forage seed evaluation nursery
at Ladner. The nursery consisted of some 75
species and varieties.
Range Development
Branch staff were heavily involved in
coordinated resource management plans in
conjunction with other resource agencies. At
year end, there were 68 such plans either
under way or completed throughout the
province. The plans are funded through the
ARDSA program.
Improvement of range under the plans
involved reseeding to hardy grass varieties.
A seeding established at Afton showed that
adjacent native range produced 157 pounds
per acre of grass while plots seeded to crested
wheatgrass produced 522 pounds per acre.
When 100 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer per
acre were added to the reseeded areas,
production rose dramatically to 1,087 pounds
of grass per acre.
Many other trials and improvement
projects were carried out on rangeland sites
around the province.
Branch statistics indicate that total
commercial potato acreage in B.C. dropped
slightly to 9,565 acres in 1979 from 9,700 in
1978. Statistics Canada reported average
yields of 12.5 tons per acre although this
varied depending on the variety. Although
competition from Washington and Idaho was
keen, B.C. growers captured about 65 per
cent of the local market compared to 57 per
cent in 1978.1979 prices were similar to those
prevailing in 1978.
British Columbia's Pemberton and Cariboo
areas are unique in Canada in producing
virus-free seed potatoes. Agriculture Canada
reported that about 1,300 acres of seed
potatoes were grown by 62 farmers. During
the year, seed potato sales for the 1978 crop
totalled 6,293 tons, 1,595 of which were
Branch staff supervised the construction of
four greenhouses on the farms of four
cooperators for the purpose of initiating
grower production of their own pre-elite
virus-free cuttings from mother plants. The
branch also assisted growers in the Golden
Nematode area of Saanich on Vancouver
Island by introducing the resistant Hudson
potato variety.
Weed Control
Administration of weed control programs
continued to be a major activity of the
page fifty-seven
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
branch. The ministry continued its program
of assistance to regional district and
municipal weed control programs. During
1979, ministry grants of $368,000 generated
more than $750,000 in expenditures on 24
locally planned and coordinated weed
control projects. Two major weed control
projects covered in part by this program were
the knapweed containment program and the
thistle control programs (Canada and sow
thistle) throughout the province. Knapweed
covers an estimated 90,000 acres mainly in
the Kamloops southern interior region
although infestations are known in other
areas. In conjunction with Agriculture
Canada and the Ministry of Forests, branch
staff assisted in the dissemination of
biological control agents, including a
seedeating fly larvae, to over 70 sites covering
all of the major knapweed infestations.
Mapping of knapweed infestations also
Many other weed control demonstrations
were also carried out on pastures, range,
grass seed crops, corn, alfalfa, potatoes,
strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, peas
and beans as well as demonstrations on
brush control.
Branch staff also conducted a large scale
"zero till" demonstration on a 40 acre site
near Dawson Creek. The demonstration
involved herbicides and a specially designed
zero-till drill which eliminates all tillage and
thus reduces weed problems.
Tree fruits and grapes suffered from winter
damage in the Southern Okanagan and
vegetables suffered somewhat from the hot,
dry summer. However, in the main, 1979 was
a good year for horticultural crops, with the
Horticulture Branch staff continuing to
maintain a leadership role in the
development of the industry.
Several new techniques for the production
of horticultural crops were developed on
producers' farms with assistance from
ARDSA grants.
Nutritional levels for various crops were
monitored through the use of the tissue
testing service. The need to extend the
vegetable season earlier and later in the year
was actively studied by the vegetable
Branch staff worked with grower groups to
develop new water management schemes for
horticultural crops.
Tree Fruits
The unfavourable winter had little effect on
the overall apple crop despite the occasional
loss of trees in the Southern Okanagan. The
final provincial crop figure (estimated) was
321,358,000 lb. compared with 331,652,000 lb.
produced in 1978.
The marketing situation at the end of 1979
showed a nine per cent improvement over
1978. The biggest movement was in Red
Delicious which sold briskly at increased
prices. Movement of the Spartan variety was
behind the market objectives at the end of the
year, Mcintosh moved at normal pace and
Golden Delicious was improved from 1978.
Export shipments to the Pacific Rim
countries were ahead of last year, with total
offshore sales up by 23 per cent from the
previous year.
The winter freeze plus moisture stress
induced by hot, dry weather reduced the
pear crop to an estimated 33,500,000 lb. in
1979 from 41,000,000 lb. in 1978.
In addition, many growers had difficulty
controlling pear psylla while others removed
smaller pear blocks they felt were
The 1979 Anjou pear crop was down 23.5
per cent from 1978. Pit was a serious factor in
reducing the crop; also, the set was lighter.
There was a good market demand for this
relatively small crop and prices were
increased to extend the shipping period.
The dry, warm summer gave apricot
producers their best season in a decade. Fruit
page fifty-eight
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
The market for cannery sweet cherries increased in 1979 with canneries accepting 3,000 tons, the largest amount on record.
quality was excellent and there was no
recurrence of the brown rot situation which
had prevailed in 1978. Volume has stabilized
at the 5-6 million pound range.
There was a strong demand for fruit to be
processed into nectars. Processed apricots
earned $971,601 for the pool, and the fresh
portion, $278,288.
The 1979 crop was estimated at 18,485,000
lb. compared to 15,633,000 lb. in 1978.
The number of trees infested with little
cherry disease dropped to 109 trees but there
were several new sites of infection, including
one in the Oyama area.
A hitherto little-known insect, the "two
generation" leafroller appeared in large
numbers in cannery cherries, causing
concern to shippers and canners. Producers
were warned of the possible re-appearance of
this insect in 1980.
The market for cannery sweet cherries
increased in 1979 with canners accepting
3,000 tons, the largest amount on record.
Fresh market claims, down substantially
from the previous year, amounted to
$125,000. With a larger supply of cherries in
the major producing areas, the industry was
fortunate to return an average price of 310 per
lb. for all cherries including culls, about the
same as the 1978 return.
Provincial production in 1979 was
estimated at 1,636,000 lb. compared to
1,908,000 lb. the previous year. Returns have
been excellent due to low supplies from
Michigan, where winter freeze-outs have
occurred several years in a row.
The winter of 1978/79 dealt a severe blow
to peach producers in the Oliver-Osoyoos
area. About seven per cent of the total
number of Okanagan-Similkameen peach
trees were killed and more injured. The
provincial crop for 1979 was estimated at
17,573,000 lb. compared to 30,053,000 lb. in
Due to buoyant sales in all categories (local
sales, agency sales and cannery), prices were
expected to show a further increase in 1979.
It is expected that winter-killed orchards
will be replanted to peaches as soon as
nursery trees are available.
Due to the winter freeze, nectarine
production was down. Prices for the crop,
which is sold locally, were very good. There
is interest in planting more trees if nursery
stock is available. If a suitable variety could
be found that would stand commercial
shipment, a market exists through wholesale
page fifty-nine
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
channels. This market is currently supplied
entirely by U.S. fruits.
Prices in 1979 were higher than in 1978.
The Okanagan prune crop is in a declining
trend with some blocks being removed in
favour of apples. Few prune trees are being
Plums continue to be a minor crop with
most, or all, of the product sold locally.
Japanese plums suffered from the severe
winter but European plums were largely
Extremely low temperatures at the end of
December 1978 caused severe injury to
vineyards, especially in the South Okanagan.
Of a total 3,235 acres of grapes, it was
estimated that 429 acres of vines were killed
by the 1978/79 winter.
Total production dropped to 10,437 tons in
1979 from the all-time high of 18,404 tons
produced in 1978.
It will be several years before the high
production levels of 1978 are again seen,
resulting in inadequate supplies of grapes to
B.C. wineries.
The economics of grape production was
being studied at year-end. Some land
belonging to grape growers has been left idle
until a better judgement of future prospects
can be made.
Berry Crops
Berry yields in 1979 were variable due in
part to some winter damage but probably
more to planting on marginal berry land.
Land in the berry growing areas has become
expensive and there has been a tendency for
growers to seek lower priced land that
frequently is poorly drained and has a texture
unsuitable for berry production. This is
particularly true for raspberries.
The price for processing strawberries was
45.50 per lb. which was 110 per lb. over the
price paid in 1976,1977 and 1978. Off-farm
and U-pick sales ranged from 500 to 800 per
Strawberry acreage has increased to 1660 in
1979 from 330 in 1975.
page sixty
Over 11 million certified strawberry plants
were imported into B.C. in 1979.
The 1979 raspberry crop was the largest in
12 years and was expected to have the
highest value of any raspberry crop to date. A
total of 14,457,000 lb. of raspberries was
There were 11 mechanical raspberry
harvesters in the Fraser Valley in 1979 and
many additional machines were ordered for
Extremely low temperatures at the end of December 1978 caused
severe injury to over 400 acres of grapevines, mostly in the south
Okanagan area.
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
A "raspberry market" established in the
Abbotsford area by the B.C. Raspberry
Growers Association proved successful.
The blueberry crop was very good; final
production figures were expected to establish
a record. Returns to the grower were down
from the previous year. Holdings of frozen
berries remained high and blueberry acreage
continued to increase.
The cranberry crop was normal. There was
a shortage of fresh cranberries for the retail
trade; some expansion of the industry is
Loganberries, once grown on over 400
acres on Vancouver Island, have now
declined to under 10 acres. The cost of
production is high and the crop is weather
sensitive. The remaining acres cater to the
fresh berry trade.
Dry, sunny weather contributed to
excellent vegetable production in 1979.
Vegetable crops were planted early, matured
early and carried on well into the fall,
depending on seeding dates.
Water management schemes were being
developed by the various levels of
government in cooperation with grower
groups. This water supply will assist the
growth and quality of most vegetable crops.
The Interior Vegetable Marketing Board
attempted to establish more orderly
marketing of Interior vegetables and was
considering amalgamation with the Coast
Summer vegetables were decontrolled by
the Interior Vegetable Marketing Board in
1979 and were expected to remain so. A
Summer Vegetable Growers Association was
formed by growers to lend more order to the
The British Columbia Asparagus Growers
Association and the B.C. Ministry of
Agriculture organized activities to encourage
asparagus production in the province.
Asparagus quality was average, while
prices were excellent. Demand for fresh
asparagus remained firm and 35 per cent of
the crop was sold locally. This concerned
processors who would have preferred a
greater share of the crop. It is expected that
1980 will see 200 acres of new plantings in the
Okanagan area.
Special assistance was provided to new,
large-scale vegetable growers in the Interior -
Udy's Sunnymede Farm in Lillooet and
Fritzels' operation at Salmon Arm.
Peas, beans and corn came under Farm
Income Assurance in 1979.
Labour unrest continued to plague the
process vegetable industry in the Fraser
Valley. Due to a strike at York Farms, no peas
were planted, only half the corn acreage was
seeded and no spring rhubarb was packed. A
prolonged strike at B.C. Ice made it difficult
for processors to find freezer storage space
and one large processor handled only a small
volume of cole crops.
A D.A.T.E. project demonstrated that, if
the soil pH could be raised with lime to pH7,
clubroot could be controlled.
Overproduction of cauliflower in the Fraser
Valley was a serious problem despite
marketing board controls. Inexperienced
growers did not judge harvest maturity
correctly and large tonnages of cauliflower
did not make No. 1 grade. A cello-pak line
was in operation by September 1 and,
initially, the commodity was well received by
the wholesalers. However, as quality started
to decline, wholesalers turned to imported
The 1979 celery crop was of good quality.
There were two short-supply periods during
the growing season, indicating a need for
better planning on the part of the growers.
Acreage was up as new growers imported
plants from California. Central packing,
which includes final trimming, washing and
grading at the sales agency, continued to
prove beneficial to both growers and
consumers. Further expansion in celery
production was expected, especially for sales
to the prairies.
Lettuce had a good growing season in 1979
and quality was better than average.
However, trucking to prairie markets
continued to be a major problem. Expansion
of the crop was expected to be limited.
The cabbage crop was normal, but more
and better storage facilities were required to
enable late cabbage to be harvested and
placed in storage. Sales could then be spread
over a longer period of time.
Sweet corn acreage in the Interior
increased dramatically to 734 acres in 1979
from 534 acres the previous year. The crop
was good and most was marketed in an
orderly manner, although some acreage of
page sixty-one
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
mid-season corn was not harvested because
growers failed to arrange in advance for the
marketing of their crop. An increase in the
amount of hydro-cooled crop contributed to
better marketing.
The quality of the onion crop was excellent
in all areas. Bulbs were firm and dried well
but the hot, dry weather reduced size
Tomato acreage in the Okanagan remained
constant at 240 acres. Quality and production
were excellent due to exceptionally
favourable growing conditions.
There was a slight increase in the acreage
of watermelon, cantaloupe, eggplant and
garlic in the Okanagan and Chinese
vegetables at the Coast. However, acreages
of these vegetables were still small.
Mushroom production for 1979 hit a record
of about 14 million pounds. Sales of fresh
mushrooms to both local and prairie markets
remained strong. Sales of canned
mushrooms to both local and prairie markets
are expected to increase as a new cannery
opened by the Mushroom Growers
Cooperative moves into full production. The
cooperative negotiated the purchase of the
"Money" label from the Money Canning
Company and all canning of local
mushrooms is now under the control of the
cooperative. This is expected to ensure a
more stable supply of local canned
mushrooms and replace sales of Asian
Greenhouse Crops
The high cost of energy and of construction
and replacement materials continued to be
constraints to growers of greenhouse crops.
Despite these problems, the greenhouse
industry increased its production area in
1979; the area devoted to flower crops
increased more than that for vegetable crops.
Roses showed an increase, and freesias
and gerberas gained in popularity. Cut
flower production of chrysanthemums and
carnations continued to decline, while the
growers of foliage plants found an improved
market for their crops.
During 1979, a majority of the producers of
long English cucumbers changed from
cropping in soil to cropping in sawdust.
Although numerous problems plagued this
page sixty-two
changeover, growers were satisfied with the
new cropping system and were looking
forward to better crops in 1980.
Tomato yields increased as growers
improved their management practices. In
trials, the new hybrid Dutch varieties
consistently outyielded the standard variety
Vegetable growers employed biological
control methods for whitefly and
two-spotted mites on a large scale in 1979.
Interest was shown in the culture of other
vegetables such as green peppers, eggplants,
lettuce and cauliflower.
The loss of the manager of the Western
Greenhouse Growers Cooperative
Association created mid-season marketing
problems. A new manager was appointed in
Nursery Crops
The nursery industry continued to expand
during 1979, with sales estimated to reach
$22,364,000 for the year, an increase of 12 per
cent over 1978. Strong sales during both
spring and fall shipping seasons resulted
from a strong demand from eastern Canada
for hardy nursery stock. Approximately 37
per cent of the B.C. production was exported
from B.C., mostly to the prairie provinces.
Sales to the U.S. increased again during 1979
due partly to the devalued Canadian dollar
and partly to a shortage of nursery stock in
the U.S. Thuja occidentalis "smaragd" was
by far the most popular species for export.
A shortage of locally propagated nursery
stock persisted in British Columbia. Liners
still were imported from Holland and the
U.S. Certified juniper liners, conifer
seedlings and grafted ornamentals were in
short supply. Two tissue culture laboratories
were established during 1979 to mass
produce woody ornamental liners.
Two new machines for harvesting balled
and burlapped field grown nursery stock
were tried. One was in operation at six
nurseries for trial before commercial
production of the digger, which increases a
field stock grower's efficiency.
Container production of nursery stock
continued to expand at a faster rate than field
production. Nutrition and weed control
remained the two major problems with
container culture.
 Gypsy moth, an extremely destructive pest
in eastern Canada and U.S. appeared in B.C.
during 1978 for the first time. An
environmentally controversial control
program was carried out in spring 1979 in the
infested Kitsilano area. Fall trapping for the
adult moths indicated 100 per cent control
had been achieved.
Markets for B.C. grown nursery stock were
expected to continue to expand, especially in
eastern Canada. A "B.C. Home Grown"
campaign was launched to encourage
purchase of B.C. grown nursery stock over
imported stock. Few growers were applying
"B.C. Home Grown" labels to plants, as so
much B.C. stock is shipped out of the
province and most growers could sell more
than they can supply.
There was an increase in the amount of
nursery stock being sold from one wholesale
Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
grower to another, i.e. small growers to large
growers, especially for out-of-province sales.
This enabled small growers to specialize in
one or two species, making an economic farm
unit of a small acreage.
Allotment Gardens
The allotment garden program remained
relatively stable.
The turnover continued to be high and
many plotholders who did not intend
renewing for the following year simply
abandoned their plots and left them in an
untidy condition.
Part of the Kenneth-Agnes site in Victoria
was closed and the plotholders relocated.
The new Richmond site progressed
favourably and some good plots were
The Livestock Branch assists producers in
improving the quality and performance of
their livestock. Specialist staff provide advice
on a personal basis and conduct extension
programs specifically for livestock producers
throughout the province.
Beef cattle prices entered the year on a
gradual increase and continued rising to
buoyant levels at year-end. The B.C.
Livestock Marketing Co-operative reported a
price of $583.41 per head for all cattle sold up
to October 31, compared with a $413 average
for the previous year. This compared to
prices of $216 and $176 for 1977 and 1976
respectively. As of December 15,1979, the
beef kill in British Columbia was down 16.1
per cent from the year before. The Canadian
average decrease was 13 per cent for the same
The Beef Industry Study Committee,
organized in 1977, was expecting to release
its study early in 1980. The development of a
proposed beef feeding operation in the
Kamloops area was thwarted in 1979 by a
jurisdictional dispute pertaining to zoning
and land use.
The Beef Cattle Industry Commodity
Organization dealt largely with consolidating
the position of the industry in the province. It
expressed strong reaction to the proposed
plan of the Ministry of Environment to
reintroduce elk into areas of the province
where they have been historically recorded
but do not exist at the present time. The Fish
and Wildlife Branch sought the reaction of
the Ministry of Agriculture to another private
proposal to develop an elk ranching
A Beef Feeding and Management Guide
was developed and distributed to industry
representatives during the year.
B.C. cattlemen asked the ministry to
provide a performance test program adapted
to the needs of commercial cattlemen.
Modification and expansion of the beef
cattle test station continued. It is expected the
station will increase its capacity to 200 bulls
from 130 bulls before the start of the 1980-81
page sixty-three
 Ministry of Agriculture— 1979 Annual Report
The industry continues to strive for retaining a larger number of feeder cattle for finishing in British Columbia feedlots.
The swine industry continued to grow in a
manner similar to that experienced in the
previous year. Hog slaughter in B.C. to mid
December 1979 was up by 45 per cent over
previous year levels, with weekly shipment
of 3,705 animals during November and 4,077
during the first three weeks of December,
1979. Average weighted price for 100 index
hogs in B.C. was $64.35/cwt, compared with
$67.51 for 1978.
The ARDSA funded Swine Industry Study
was completed late in the year. While the
study indicated an encouraging future for the
industry, it also highlighted some of the
problems the swine industry will face before
reaching the goal of 500,000 B.C.-produced
hogs by the end of 1984. Among these will be
the need for a breeding program in the
province to assure a supply of healthy,
efficient breeding stock. The report also gave
strong support to the continued need for a
stabilization program relative to B.C.
production costs and the need for an industry
steering committee to assist in future
development of the industry. The report
envisaged the need for a new slaughtering
facility based on a large increase in B.C. hog
production. If estimated 1980 and 1981
production of over 200,000 hogs per year
page sixty-four
 becomes a reality, such a facility will be
The Record of Performance program
continued to expand with 14 producers and
two institutional farms on test at year end.
While hog grading percentage above the 105
market index level in B.C. at 37.6 of total was
7 per cent higher than the Canadian average,
data gathered under the R.O.P. program
indicated many B.C. producers could
profitably reduce their days-to-market
weight through use of better selection
The government sponsored a successful
National Swine Record of Performance
Advisory Committee meeting in July at
Prices for good quality live weight lambs
were in the $75 to $85/cwt range early in the
year but dropped to $65 to $75/cwt by
December - similar levels to one year earlier.
There were 5,429 sheep sold at the October
13 Kamloops sale sponsored by the B.C.
Sheep Producers Co-operative. Average
price for ewe lambs was $58.88 per head.
Market lambs averaged $.64/lb. while feeders
were $.70/lb. Older ewes and a few rams
averaged $43.02 per head. The sale indicated
some important weaknesses within the B.C.
sheep industry. The Sheep and Wool
Commission and the ministry will continue
to examine these weaknesses in the hope of
improving the marketing structure.
The provincial Sheep Record of
Performance Advisory Committee continued
to examine alternatives for development of
central test station facilities in the province,
including the use of private facilities.
The government sponsored a National
Sheep Record of Performance Advisory
Committee meeting in May at Victoria.
Solution of the increasing problem of
predation by dogs and indigenous predators
continued to be sought as a requirement for
development of the sheep industry in the
province. The Municipal Act lacks certain
powers to allow regional districts to develop
strong and effective by-laws. Partial remedy
to this was being sought by an amendment to
he Domestic Animal Protection Act.
Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
Funds provided by the ministry helped the
B.C. Goat Breeders Association to develop a
stronger financial base through increased
membership. B.C. goat producers were
offered a milk recording program through the
combined efforts of the ministry's Dairy
Branch and the Canadian Goat Breeders
Dairy Herd Improvement
Total herds on test on the Dairy Herd
Improvement Program remained consistent
at 525. Twenty-four herds left the program
and 23 new herds enrolled for a net decrease
of one herd, which represented an increase of
1,474 cows over the previous year. Herd size
increased by an average of 2.9 animals,
bringing year-end averages to 64.3 cows per
herd. Actual average production was 6,650
kg of milk and 240 kg of fat, up 71 and 3 kg
respectively from the previous year. Ten
herds equalled or exceeded 8,385 kg of milk
and 273 kg of fat. Five of these were from
Vancouver Island and five from the Lower
Due to increased experience of B.C.
Systems Corporation personnel and
extraordinary efforts from ministry staff, data
processing problems were much reduced
during the year. Some of the more costly
changes to accommodate recommendations
of the Canadian Milk Recording Board had
not been implemented by year end.
A survey of dairy producers in the
province was conducted by branch personnel
to determine use and perception of present
and proposed recording services. Assistance
in data analysis was provided by the Farm
Economics Branch. In addition to a 25 per
cent sample of enrollees in the program,
contacts were also made with producers no
longer enrolled as well as those who had
never joined a testing program. The purpose
of the study was to modify or implement an
improved Dairy Herd Improvement
Use of the field analysis service of the Soil,
Feed and Tissue Testing Laboratory
continued with an increasing number of
producers requesting ration formulation
rather than analysis only.
page sixty-five
 Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
The Poultry Branch implements programs
and policies designed to provide a specialist
extension service to all aspects of the poultry
and egg industry in the province. It assists
producers with production problems and
helps them in developing more modern and
efficient production units. The branch
provides advice on government programs
and new techniques and disseminates
information on research applicable to poultry
operations. The branch also consults with
and acts as a liaison between producers,
marketing boards, national agencies and
other industry associations.
The Poultry Branch staff includes
specialists in all aspects of production and
diseases of poultry. The fields of specialty
include chicken broiler and hatching egg
production; egg production; turkey, rabbit,
waterfowl and game bird production; and
poultry health. The specialists are located at
the poultry test station in Abbotsford and the
branch head is located at the ministry offices
in Victoria.
Staff members at the poultry test station
and farm at Abbotsford conduct a broad
range of demonstration and applied research
projects for broilers, layers, turkeys and
rabbits. Some of the facilities at the station
underwent renovations in 1979 in order to
bring the facilities closer to commercial
conditions. Projects were conducted to
demonstrate the genetic potential of strains
that were most suitable in the area for egg,
broiler and turkey production.
Other projects completed included trials on
roaster production to compare alternative
strains and methods of feeding and
management. Roaster producers in the
province have been experiencing many
problems associated with the present strain
of bird. Trial results indicated that other
strains, although slower growing, are
superior in terms of mortality and 'grade
out'. Tests were also conducted on the use of
different types of management in turkey
production and the performance comparison
of different strains of turkey broilers.
Management and comparative studies
were conducted on the performance of laying
hens grown at different cage densities and
the performance of cage-reared layers
compared with that of floor-reared layers.
page sixty-six
Another project compared the performance
of laying hens raised using 'short light
periods'. Results indicated that use of 'short
light periods' did not affect the performance
of laying hens and, in fact, saved energy
costs. The information gathered from these
studies and projects were rapidly
disseminated to the industry. The staff
organized and conducted various short
courses and conferences. The 1979 B.C.
Poultry Industry Conference was a very
successful conference and featured speakers
from across North America.
The projects conducted at the poultry test
station provided considerable information for
producers at little cost to government. In the
12 month period December 1,1978 to
November 30,1979, a revenue of $100,227
was generated at the test station from the sale
of poultry products (about $40,000 in excess
of normal operating expenses).
Disease problems and poultry health
continued to be factors in poultry production.
This problem is compounded by the
concentration of poultry in the Lower
Mainland. The Poultry Branch and the
poultry veterinarian worked closely with the
veterinary laboratory and practising
veterinarians in monitoring disease levels
and establishing control programs. A survey
to monitor the status of salmonella
contamination in multiplier breeder flocks
was conducted early in the year, and the
results indicated the absolute need for an
effective hatching egg supply policy in the
province. This policy has already been
introduced to the hatcheries and hatching
egg producers in B.C.
MM I till I Hi
The Poultry Branch facilities at Abbotsford contain incubators
for broiler hatching eggs on which tests are conducted to
determine more effective growth and management techniques.
 During 1979, the poultry industry in B.C.
was stunned by the news that
polychlorinated biphenyls had been
introduced into local feeds by contaminated
tallow imported from the United States. The
federal government did extensive testing of
feeds, birds and eggs and fortunately no
large scale contamination in poultry products
or eggs was found. However, contaminated
feed was destroyed, as were some flocks of
pheasants that had PCB levels beyond
acceptable levels.
Waterfowl, game bird and rabbit
production continued to attract considerable
interest. Efforts continued to be made to
develop a viable duck and game bird
industry. A small waterfowl hatchery was
built in Yarrow, and pheasant production
was estimated at over 50,000. However, the
lack of adequate processing facilities for these
commodities hampered further development
of these industries. There are plans to
develop a processing facility in the Lower
Mainland in the near future.
A much needed poultry processing plant in
the Interior of B.C. began operation at
Armstrong in April, 1979. This plant
(Colonial Farms) was processing fryers, fowl
and some turkeys for the fresh market in the
Interior. Live produce was being supplied by
producers in the region, with some product
being imported from the Lower Fraser
Valley. Market prospects appeared excellent,
and plans were under way to enlarge the
The rabbit industry started to show a
steady growth, although many production
problems still plagued the commercial rabbit
producer. A survey of the market potential of
rabbit meat, conducted through an ARDSA
grant, indicated that increased market
Ministry of Agriculture — 2979 Annual Report
potential exists for rabbit meat. However,
more production information is needed, and
the branch hopes to initiate more research
into rabbit production by utilizing the
facilities at the poultry test station.
The poultry industry over the past few
years has developed provincial and national
commodity boards and agencies. Both the
Canadian Turkey and Egg Marketing
Agencies, which regulate the marketing and
production of turkeys and eggs nationally,
have been functioning for a number of years.
A national Chicken Broiler Marketing Agency
has also been established, together with the
import level of both live and dressed chicken
from the United States. However, the
Chicken Broiler Agency has not been fully
operational, as certain issues regarding
provincial allocation of quotas haven't been
resolved. It is hoped that these issues will be
resolved this year.
Market Situation:
During 1979, the prices to producers of all
poultry products remained favourable,
although operating and feed costs continued
to rise. There was concern over the market
returns for hatching egg producers and this
segment of the industry applied for the Farm
Income Assurance Program.
The demand for eggs in British Columbia
increased. Egg prices, as established by the
CEMA cost of production formula, increased
during the year. The weighted average price
for all grades in B.C. was 73.30 per dozen on
January 6,1979 and 78.90 per dozen on
December 1,1979. Large and extra large eggs
experienced six price increases, followed by a
Incubators such as these are commonplace in many B.C.
Chicks hatching after 21 days in incubator.
page sixty-seven
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
decrease on December 10,1979. Small egg
grades experienced price fluctuations and
ended the year 20 below that at the beginning
of the year. There was a small surplus of
Grade 'A' small eggs throughout the year,
and medium grades were in surplus supply
during May, June and September. These
surplus eggs moved to the breaking trade,
although the egg product stations
experienced shortages of eggs. Large and
extra large eggs were in heavy demand, and
eggs were imported from Manitoba and the
United States to augment the local supply of
eggs. The weighted average price was 75.50
per dozen for the cumulative 52 week period;
this compares to a cumulative weighted
average price of 69.50 per dozen for 1978.
The number of layers in B.C. increased
throughout the year due to increases in
national CEMA quota allocations. B.C. bird
allocation at January 1,1979 was 2,500,458
layers. There were three increases through
the year: in March, an increase of 3.6 per
cent; in April, an increase of 2.3 per cent;
and, in December, a further increase of 3 per
cent. These increases brought the quota
allocation at the end of 1979 to 2,729,524
layers in B.C. This was the greatest number
of layers in B.C. since the Egg Marketing
Board came into effect. The total B.C. egg
production in 1979 was 52,660,004 dozen
eggs. This compared to a total egg production
of 53,136,925 dozen eggs in 1978. With the
increase in the number of layers in 1979, egg
production in 1980 is anticipated to be higher.
Fowl marketings to processing plants were
extremely difficult during the summer
months. This was aggravated by the
increased volume of broilers being marketed
at the same time. The Egg Marketing Board
now handles all bookings for spent fowl and
directs product to the processing plants. The
paying price to producers for spent fowl was
increased to 50 per pound in January.
However, when trucking, handling and
condemnation costs were discounted, the
average net return to the producer was
approximately 100 per bird shipped.
The turkey industry in British Columbia
was buoyant in 1979. Storage stocks as of
January 1,1979 were well below those of a
year earlier. Accompanied by low inventory
and high red meat prices, turkey sales were
very good. Unfortunately, with the huge
increase of chicken broiler marketings, sales
of all poultry products slowed and storage
stocks increased. The turkey industry in
British Columbia maintained sales, and
storage stocks were expected to be at about
the previous year's levels. However, there
was a buildup of turkey storage stocks in the
rest of the country; these turkeys could be
dumped on the local market any time.
Production of turkeys in 1979 was
approximately 21 per cent above 1978 levels.
This increase could have been greater except
for the shortage of hatching eggs and poults.
Prices increased 5V2 0 per pound of all classes
of turkeys. Price increases are determined by
a cost of production formula, and the
increase in feed and poult prices was the
main reason for increased production costs.
These price increases are also influenced by
the price and volume of product offered from
sources outside the province. Retail prices
increased by approximately 40 per pound
over 1978 prices. The average weighted price
for all classes of turkey was 56.10 per pound.
The weighted average price for each class of
turkey was 55.70 per pound for turkeys
under 12 pounds; 57.80 per pound for 12 to
20 pounds; and 55.50 a pound for 20 pounds
and over.
The significant increase in broiler
production that began in 1978 continued at
nearly a 30 per cent increase until mid 1979.
Afterward, there was a gradual slowing
down in placements of broiler chicks so that
the annual increase was approximately 15 per
cent. Broiler meat was expected to show a 20
per cent increase for the year, resulting in a
substantial increase in storage stocks. In fact,
storage stocks at year end were at an
historical high.
In 1979, a total of 29.2 million head of
broiler chickens was processed in B.C., and
the cumulative eviscerated weight of this
product was approximately 88.7 million
pounds. This total included all classes and
weights of broiler meat and exceeded 1978
marketings of broiler meat by 15.8 million
pounds. 1978 marketings of broiler meat
exceeded 1977 marketings by approximately
11.7 million pounds eviscerated weight. In
terms of live weight, over 115 million pounds
of broilers were shipped from B.C. farms in
1979. The Canadian Chicken Marketing
Agency has established and allocated 92
million pounds (eviscerated weight) of
national quota to B.C. for 1980 broiler
production; this would include roaster
marketings of 6.9 million pounds. However,
page sixty-eight
 Ministry of Agriculture— 2979 Annual Report
the B.C. Broiler Marketing Board had not yet
accepted this allocation, and further
discussions with the agency were scheduled
for early 1980.
The average weighted price for regular
broilers was 40.33 cents and juniors 41.58 for
1979. This compared to 38.0 cents and 39.2
cents respectively for the previous year. The
ratio of marketings of different classes of
chickens were juniors 41 per cent, regulars 53
per cent, roasters 4 per cent and cornish 2 per
cent. Production costs increased in 1979, led
by cost increases in feed, chicks and interest
rates. The B.C. Broiler Marketing Board
changed the allocation of quota from a square
foot basis to a per pound basis. Another
major change in quota allocation policy by
the B.C. Broiler Board allows the transfer of
quota with or without the sale of the farm
For the first six months of 1979, there was a
shortage of hatching eggs. However, after
October, 1979, the egg supply situation
reversed itself and broiler hatching eggs were
in surplus production.
page sixty-nine


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