b'FARMCASH FarmCash: A Short-term Loan for Long-term Impact Syeda Khurram, chief financial officer of the Alberta Wheat CommissionTHE ALBERTA WHEAT Commissions FarmCash cash advanceabout 1.5 per cent, per annum, will cost approximately $15,000 program offers farm businesses loans of up to $1 million,over one year. Therefore, an investment in capital infrastructure $100,000 of which is interest-free, for up to 18 months onor another revenue-boosting investment only needs to boost farm crops and 24 months on livestock. At an interest rate of primerevenues by $15,000 before it begins tallying return on investment. minus 0.75 per cent, FarmCash offers farmers the cheapestThird, FarmCash directly supports farmland value. borrowed dollars available. FarmCash is much more than aAs we all know, farmland value is the backbone of most bridge which provides flexible cash-in-hand before a seasonsfarm businesses. The interest rate on loans payable by a farm payments actually roll in. In fact, FarmCash can have very majorbusiness has direct implications on total farmland value. positive impact on your farms long-term financial health andWhereas FarmCashs low interest makes investing into the farm sustainability.business attractive, a high-interest loan discourages investment, First and foremost, FarmCashs low interest means farmputting downward pressure on farmlands valuation. As such, revenues arent lost to high interest fees, allowing a farmerwhereas FarmCashs low interest rate supports ongoing growth additional dollars to invest back into the farm business.and external investment, a high interest rate loan can be a Second, FarmCash can be leveraged for impressivesignificant source of operating risk to a farm business. While investment return with negligible risk, translating to a farmmultiple factors impact how much capacity a farm has to grow business enjoying better overall financial health. more profit, interest is by far the biggest.Consider this, the risk and return of a $1 million investment onFinally, FarmCash also delivers for those who are more the TSX or NASDAQ is governed by market volatilityyou mightinterested in holding onto rather than selling their land. win, you might lose. Conversely, a $1 million investment into yourFarmCashs low interest rate makes possible the continuous farm, when done via FarmCashs ultra-low interest fees, is notinvestment farmland requires. Managing land well enhances its influenced by market volatility, offering the potential for higherlong-term sustainability, increasing the likelihood that it can be returns. A $1 million FarmCash loan at a blended interest rate ofpassed on to future generations. SEED TESTING New Technology Makes All the Difference Against SclerotiniaSarah Foster, president and senior seed analyst of 20/20 Seed LabsA FUNGUS CALLED Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is becomingspores that can be blown several kilometers into adjacent fields.more prominent in canola fields in Western Canada, and itsThats where modern technology comes in. You can now something anyone with a stake in the canola business should bedetect disease in your field long before you see it in your crops. aware of. The Spornado is a simple passive spore catcher priced to work Sclerotinia occurs in all canola growing regions and is thewithin your fungicide budget. The sampler is placed in the most economically significant disease of canola in Westernfield, trapping airborne spores through wind currents on a Canada. On standing crops, it appears as light brown lesions onspecialized filter. These filters are then collected for molecular stems, branches and pods. These lesions expand and becomeanalysis for fungal pathogens that cause crop disease.bleached-looking and may have concentric rings. The Spornado looks like a weathervane with a funnel in front. When lesions expand enough to girdle the stem, plants willIt collects airborne spores on specialized filters, contained in an wilt. The bleached stems tend to shred and break at the base.easy-to-change cassette system. The cassette is easily removable Hard, black overwintering bodies (sclerotia) form inside theand can be shipped to 20/20 Seed Labs for rapid, accurate testing.infected stems and pods. The Spornado should be placed in an open area within a field Depending on weather conditions, yield losses can beof interest at least one week prior to canola flowering and one extremely high. A rule of thumb is yield loss is about half of theweek after flowering. A cereal crop should be monitored with percentage of infected plants in the field. A field with 20 per centthe Spornado from just after flag leaf emergence until the crop infected plants, therefore, will result in a 10 per cent yield loss. has finished flowering. Late June to early August is the optimal The black sclerotia produced inside infected plants can live intime to use the Spornado.the soil for at least four to five years. Under suitable conditionsThis past season, 86 per cent of samples sent in tested the sclerotia germinate and produce tiny cup-shaped mushroomspositive for sclerotinia. This problem is out there, and the best (apothecia). The apothecia produce thousands of air-borneoffence is a good defense.Spring 2021 67'