Archive for the ‘Agriculture’ Category

Austin, Manitoba breaks thresher record   Leave a comment




Manitoba is now the proud owner of a new world record.

More than 150 antique threshing machines descended on a field near Austin, Man. Sunday afternoon in an attempt to break the world record for the most pioneer threshing machines operating at once.

One-hundred-and-thirty-nine machines finished the required 15 minutes of threshing to beat out the current record of 111, held by St. Albert, Ontario after an event last year.

“This wasn’t just a modern day record, this is a new feat that’s never been seen before,” said Elliot Sims, vice-chair of the Threshermen’s Reunion and Stampede

“We were quite happy that we were able to make it work, and from what I hear from everyone in the crowd, they just couldn’t believe the amount of machines and the amount of passion from all the volunteers to make sure they were operating,” he added.

Volunteers manually shovelled wheat into the machines with pitchforks, and each machine was given 200 sheaves per machine to thresh.

“Most of the machines went well beyond the 15 minutes that we were planning on to make sure that they had all their sheaves gone through,” said Sims.

He says 1400 volunteers worked yesterday to make the event a success.

“Some of these machines are in a little more original condition than others. So it really comes down to is the man-power. It was over 30 degrees with the humidity yesterday and that’s hot, heavy work when you’re pitch forking all of those sheaves in by hand,” said Sims.

The event, titled Harvesting Hope: a World Record to Help the Hungry, took place at the annual Thesherman’s Reunion and Stampede.




Austin, Man., is about 130 kilometres west of Winnipeg near Portage la Prairie.

“They [volunteers] are coming from as far as Newfoundland, British Columbia, Florida, Wisconsin, Iowa, New York,” Sims said. “It’s simply astounding to us of where all of these people are coming from.”

Sims said some of the threshing machines themselves were coming from as far away as Iowa, Minneapolis and northern Alberta. He said organizers were hoping to have each machine operating at the same time for 15 minutes. More than 45,000 sheaves of wheat were cut for the event.




The threshing machines were driven by a steam engine, tractor or stationary engine built between 1890 and 1950.
“We’ve got a number of our volunteers even just saying it’s giving them goosebumps seeing how this thing is shaping up to happen,” Sims said.

He said the machines were lined up in a W-shaped figure in an area about 5.5 hectares large. Stretched out, he said the line of machines would stretch for more than two kilometres.














Posted August 15, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture

Tractor Driving Man   Leave a comment




Posted June 11, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture

Small Amish Community in Manitoba   Leave a comment


Road sign near Gladstone, Manitoba


In 2006 eleven families of Amish from Ontario moved to southern Manitoba.  High farmland costs back in Ontario led these adventurous people to move out west.  It is hard to gauge the population of Amish in Manitoba, suffice it to say there would be approximately 150-200 individuals based on average family size.  Other families have joined the original eleven. They live near the small towns of Gladstone and Plumas in south-central Manitoba.


The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins. They are closely related to, but distinct from, Mennonite churches. The Amish are known for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of modern technology. The history of the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland within a group of Swiss and Alsatian Anabaptists in 1693 led by Jakob Ammann. Those who followed Ammann became known as Amish.



A team of 4 horses pulling a seeding machine


Over 250,000 Amish live in the United States, mainly in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. Over 40,000 live in southern Ontario, with a very small group in Manitoba.


Lots of horses in and near the farmyards


Two key concepts for understanding Amish practices are their rejection of Hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and the high value they place on Demut (humility) and Gelassenheit (calmness, composure, placidity), often translated as “submission” or “letting-be”. Gelassenheit is perhaps better understood as a reluctance to be forward, to be self-promoting, or to assert oneself. The Amish’s willingness to submit to the “Will of Jesus”, expressed through group norms, is at odds with the individualism so central to the wider American culture. The Amish anti-individualist orientation is the motive for rejecting labor-saving technologies that might make one less dependent on community. Modern innovations like electricity might spark a competition for status goods, or photographs might cultivate personal vanity.


Seeing the Amish farms is like going back in time to the late 1800’s. Except for the rubber tires.

Amish subgroups, known as affiliations, differ in the use of modern technologies. Television, radio and the internet are not used by the vast majority.  Some affiliations do allow certain modern technologies. Modern amenities and devices such as flush toilets, chainsaws, pneumatic tools, mechanical refrigerators, running water, propane gas and lawn mowers are used.




Posted May 1, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Manitoba

Planting Time in Southern Manitoba   Leave a comment

Spring is here and the crops are going into the ground. Great time of year. Farmers busy doing what they do.



Looks like a Robot insect.  Actually it is an agricultural sprayer to control insects and crop diseases.



And then there is the Amish community in Manitoba.


Machinery3a Amish


Posted May 1, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Manitoba

The Heavyweight Cattle Breed of The World   Leave a comment




The Chianina is an Italian breed of cattle, formerly principally a draught breed, now raised mainly for beef. It is the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. The famous bistecca alla fiorentina (‘beefsteak Florentine style’) is produced from its meat.

One of the oldest breeds of cattle, the Chianina originates in the area of the Valdichiana, from which it takes its name, and the middle Tiber valley. Chianina cattle have been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for at least 2200 years.




The Chianina is both the tallest and the heaviest breed of cattle. Mature bulls stand up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), and castrated oxen may reach 2 m (6 ft 7 in). It is not unusual for bulls to exceed 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) in weight. Males standing over 1.51 m (4 ft 11 in) at 12 months are considered top-grade. A Chianina bull named Donetto holds the world record for the heaviest bull, reported by one source as 1,740 kg (3,840 lb) when exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955, but as 1,780 kg (3,920 lb) and 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) tall at the age of 8 by others including the Tenuta La Fratta, near Sinalunga in the province of Siena, where he was bred. Cows usually weigh 800–900 kg (1,800–2,000 lb), but commonly exceed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); those standing over 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in) are judged top-grade. Calves routinely weigh over 50 kg (110 lb) at birth. The coat of the Chianina is white; very slight grey shading round the eyes and on the foreparts is tolerated. The skin, muzzle, switch, hooves and the tips of the horns are black.

At the end of 2010 there were 47,236 head registered in Italy, of which more than 90% were in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio; it is, after the Marchigiana, the second indigenous beef breed of Italy.



Don’t want one these beasts to get agitated when you are nearby.





Their history as draft animals means that Chianinas were bred for docile temperaments, as they had to work closely with people. That good disposition is important in a cow as large as the Chianina.




Posted April 22, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Animals

Royal Winter Fair in Brandon has Little Pony Chuck Wagon Races   Leave a comment

The Royal Winter Fair in the western Manitoba city of Brandon is an agricultural exhibition held annually at the end of March.  In 2016 over 110,000 visitors passed through the turnstiles to check out the amazing critters.  The major events are cattle and horse competitions, equestrian, team horse wagons, hog chases, heifer round-ups, petting zoo, Royal fiddle competition, Barrel Racing, K-9 Equine relay and tiny pony chuck wagon races.

The fair is held at the Keystone Arena which has a capacity of 5,000 for the fair. The Royal Winter Fair is a great outing for all the family, including Grandma and Grandpa.

Equestrian and horse carriage competition.





The K-9 Equine relay course.




fair14 k9-equine relay

Spot and Trigger are about to take off!

Equestrian competition.



Cattle competition.



Young cattle and their young handlers.


Masterfeed Supreme Bull (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)

                                                                 Masterfeed Supreme Bull (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

The big horse team competition, glorious animals.










Barrel Racing.




Hog scramble.




Little Pony Chuck Wagon Races







Little horses really put out and go like the banshee.




These are really small horses!




Posted April 4, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Animals

Romanian Shepherds protest Parliament over new law that will take away their Sheepdogs   Leave a comment


Are they going to let government take away their dogs? Not without a fight.



If you ask a Romanian shepherd, the government is out of touch with their traditional culture. And as a result, they say their livelihoods are under attack by hunters and conservationists who are trying to take away their dogs and restrict use of land for herding.

Back in December, as many as 4,000 shepherds and sheep herders wearing shaggy sheepskins, and carrying their wooden staffs, surrounded the Parliament building in Bucharest. They tried to climb over the walls.

“They were confronted by riot police with truncheons and tear gas. So that it was quite a surprising scene,” says the BBC ‘s Lucy Ash. Her radio documentary Romania: The Shepherd’s Revolt aired on Radio 4’s Crossing Continents program.


“They’re very angry about an amendment to Romania’s hunting law, “explains Ash. “It has to be recognized that hunting is a huge pastime in Romania especially among the elite …. But there are people who do it from all walks of life.

“And there was an amendment to the hunting law that was going to limit the number of dogs the shepherds would be allowed to keep. One dog on the plains, two dogs on hilly terrains, three dogs up in the mountains.”

That policy angered many shepherds who rely on dogs to protect them from the predators in the hills and valleys of the Carpathian Mountains. Romania has the biggest population of bears in Europe, 6,500 brown bears, and they can be quite vicious when hungry, says Ash.

“What the dogs do is they give the shepherds peace of mind. Otherwise they’re continually on edge worrying that a wolf is going to come down and snack on one of their sheep or that they’re going to be attacked by a bear. So they didn’t really like lawmakers or hunters who they see as just people who treat the countryside as a place to come and have fun rather than actually work. They didn’t like them telling them how many dogs they could keep.”

Bucovina Sheepdog


On the other side of the controversy, Romania has an influential hunting lobby — around two thirds of MPs are hunters — and they accuse shepherds’ dogs of scaring off or sometimes even killing their quarry. They also claim overgrazing is damaging the natural habitat of the deer, the boar and other wild animals they hunt.

“The hunters on their side say these shepherds, some of them don’t feed their dogs properly over the winter time, they attacked the animals that we want to shoot, some times that she attack our hunting dogs. One man who got out of a very fancy looking jeep was saying to me, ‘Do you realize that these pointers cost thousands of Euros to buy and to train it takes over a year and these horrible shepherds’ dogs attacked one and killed it?’

“So they were very much up in arms and they believe there are too many sheep in Romania. They say that because of subsidies from the European Union, shepherds and sheep herders have been encouraged to increase the number of their flock.  “So it’s sort of like these two lobbies, the shepherds and the hunters are at loggerheads.”

At heart this is an argument about who or what the countryside is for, says Lucy Ash. “Is its main purpose an economic one? Is it primarily for leisure? Or should it be about the people who live there?”

While Romanians debate those questions, shepherds insist the new law is an attack on centuries of sheep rearing and their culture and traditions.

They need those dogs. Who else is going to keep the predators at bay?




Posted March 26, 2016 by markosun in Agriculture, Animals