It’s been tough for farmers to get to Manitoba Ag Days this year, with iced roads and strong winds making travel hazardous. Lots of vehicles have ended up in the ditch, so be careful if you’re heading to the show.
But for everybody who has been able to make it, there’s the usual array of great speakers, updated agronomy advice, fresh market outlooks, leading-edge machinery and technology, as well as a time to run into lots of ag-related people from eastern Saskatchewan to eastern Manitoba.
I went, as I always do, to the canola sessions and heard a lot of good agronomic advice from Angela Brackenreed of the Canola Council of Canada, a great market outlook from Brenda Tjaden Lepp of FarmLink Marketing, a really useful panel of a farmer and two agronomists on the Alberta experience with clubroot. I had a delightful luncheon with the charming and dynamic Robert Arnason – the Western Producer’s Brandon bureau chief – and the two of us wandered for an hour through the sprawling trade show.
In the afternoon we witnessed an extremely circumspect Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn, who isn’t allowed to say much because of bye-elections presently underway in the province. After that I attended Paul Ferley of RBC’s economic and market outlook for 2014 and 2015, which was a fantastic session because Ferley customized the presentation to agriculture, commodities and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. Ferley’s expectation of an 87 cent dollar by the end of 2015 should warm the hearts of Prairie farmers who sell most of their crops and livestock with prices based on U.S. dollar values.
Anyhow, here are some highlights: