Harvest takes place at a palm oil plantation near Batanghari in Indonesia.  | Reuters photo

Tightening palm oil forecast likely to support all oilseeds

Several oilseed analysts expect palm oil prices should rally by 15 to 20 percent by early 2020, providing modest support to high-oil crops such as canola. The forecast was lost in more immediate market news, sparked by developments closer to home. November canola futures topped $460 per tonne Oct. 3 for the first time since […] Read more

Bad harvest weather is playing havoc with durum quality this fall.  |  File photo

Quality durum expected to be in short supply this year

If you have quality durum safe in a bin you will likely be able to sell it at an attractive price this year. On the other hand, a lot of durum grown this summer was degraded first by rain and then by snow. This column was written before the weekend when heavy snow was forecast […] Read more

Weather troubles, loss of market access and American farm aid will force whatever party becomes government in Canada after next month’s election to take further steps to support agriculture.  |  Maria Johnson photo

Safety net made in good times might fail in tough times

It is likely going to be a miserable year for crop income, and whatever party wins the federal election this fall will likely encounter increasing requests for agricultural income assistance. The harvest in much of Western Canada is already the slowest in many years. Recent rain has downgraded the quality of many standing crops and […] Read more


The recent bad weather that played havoc with prairie harvest didn’t do anything to move the markets higher.  |  Robin Booker photo

Weak price makes wheat harvest and seeding a chore

I hope the current dismal state of the wheat market will encourage a further drop in American winter wheat acreage this fall. Meanwhile, western Canadian farmers are applying the word dismal to their harvest, where rain Sept. 9-12 further stalled progress. The moisture also likely damaged the quality of wheat and durum. The largest accumulations […] Read more

Canadian-Chinese relations are the worst in decades and threaten to hit canola prices and production for a long time to come.  |  Reuters/Fred Dufour photo

Standing up to China would be costly

Few farmers had heard of Dominic Barton before this week, but he should be in their prayers because as the new Canadian ambassador to China he has an almost impossible job. Canadian-Chinese relations are the worst in decades, mostly because Canada is holding a top officer of China technology giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, on an […] Read more


Little plants and long shadows on dry soil. Canola on the Raine farm near Wilcox, Sask., took nearly three weeks to emerge and faced patchy germination due to cold, dry soils.  |  Michael Raine photo

Canola situation not good, but could have been worse

Canadian canola might be shut out of China, a market that took more than 4.5 million tonnes of canola in 2018, but the export prospects for the current crop year are not catastrophic. Agriculture Canada’s August supply and demand update forecasts 2019-20 canola exports to all buyers at nine million tonnes, down only 500,000 tonnes […] Read more

Comfortable supplies in the last year have sent wheat prices sliding, but late crops in Canada and the United States face an autumn that might be cooler than normal, raising the risk of frost damage.  |   REUTERS/Dan Koeck photo

Global wheat production recovers but frost is a danger

Weak canola prices caused by the trade problems with China dominate market headlines, but wheat values in percentage terms have fallen further compared to this time last year. Cash prices in Canada for canola are down eight to nine percent compared to the same point a year ago but hard red spring wheat is down […] Read more



The best hope may be to convince the rest of the world of the need to revive and strengthen international institutions such as the World Trade Organization.  | REUTERS/Ruben Sprich photo

Canada must work to save international rules-based order

Our experience with superpower conflict during the Cold War with Russia does not give us much guidance in our new challenges with China. For all its military might and geopolitical meddling, Russia and its bloc of Eastern European satellite states were never much of an economic power. China, however, has become the second largest economy […] Read more

Combines load trucks with wheat last week during harvesting in a field near the village of Kamennobrodskaya in Russia’s Stavropol region. The country’s total wheat crop is forecast at 78 million tonnes, up from last year’s disappointing 71.7 million but still short of the bumper crop two years ago of 85.2 million. |  Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko photo

New crop wheat price forecast looks similar to 2018-19

As the crop year counts down to its final weeks, Canadian wheat farmers have seen good demand for their product at prices similar to the previous year. Looking ahead to the coming crop year, global production is expected to recover somewhat from the tight crop of 2018-29 when the European Union, Russia and Australia all […] Read more