An alternative asset value expert acknowledges that many producers think they need to own the land they farm to be secure, but he argues that they should reconsider that because operating a farm is getting more capital-intensive, which is hard to balance with major investments in farmland.  |  Barb Glen photo

Land ownership questioned

Farmers are complicating and confusing their focus by owning most of their farmland, says a farmland investment adviser. That misfocus is also robbing them of capital they could be using to farm better. “Let’s focus on being really good operators,” said Scott McEwen, a Toronto alternative asset value expert. “You aren’t necessarily the best asset […] Read more

Manitoba livestock sector faces feed shortages

Most of the crops look great on the eastern Prairies. “Everything’s green,” said one Keystone Agricultural Producers regional farmer-representative as they began summing up local conditions at the end of a province-wide conference call July 30. “Everything looks good,” said another. “Things look pretty good,” said yet another, and more comments similar to these followed. […] Read more

Farmers should not ignore talk of second COVID wave

In most summers, many young folk flock to ocean beaches to catch big waves. I tried that once, ending up having an expensive pair of prescription sunglasses torn off my head and lost in the Los Angeles surf. That was the end of my body-surfing career. Crop producers couldn’t be floating on calmer seas today, […] Read more


Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem said in mid-July that the current 0.25 percent overnight rate would likely remain “for a long time,” which central bank watchers said implies a two-to-three-year period.  |  Reuters/ Blair Gable photo

Caution advised if eyeing cheap credit

Borrowing too much when interests are low may be asking 
for trouble, but using it to refinance can 
be a smart move

What do you do with historically low interest rates and oceans of cheap debt available to people with good credit? That’s a question confronting flush farmers and other creditworthy businesspeople in Canada and around the world. Fortunately, most analysts think farmers have plenty of time to ponder the question. “In the short to medium term, […] Read more

A bumper crop is expected to result in a surplus of milling quality oats because of limited markets and a large acreage that is doing well and dominates North American production and consumption. Analysts say prices will likely suffer as a result.  |  File photo

Large Canadian oat crop may pressure prices

The large crops that producers are expected to harvest aren’t expected to flood the market — with the exception of oats

Farmers smile if they see big, good quality crops growing in their fields. But some can furrow their brows if they see everybody around them also growing big, good quality crops. Especially with Canadian production dominating some crops’ global supply-and-demand dynamics, big crops can bring woe to new crop prices. However, farmers this year don’t […] Read more


FCC optimistic about ag sector

Farm Credit Canada is striding bullishly into 2020-21, despite the impact of the pandemic that hit its 2019-20 returns. The agricultural lender and federal agency remains committed to boosting its loans to farmers and agribusinesses, according to its annual report. It also remains a key element of the federal government’s agricultural policy efforts, channelling federal […] Read more


Crop producers have been able to skip through the pandemic with little obvious impacts on their ability to move crops or receive prices close to or better than pre-pandemic levels.  |  Reuters/Todd Korol photo

Grain shipments save the day for railways

Worldwide demand for manufactured goods collapsed under COVID-19 restrictions, but bulk commodities were unfazed


Grain is saving the railways’ bacon. While demand for other commodities slumps and throws the business plans of Canada’s two national railways into disorder, hauling large volumes of crops has allowed the railways to record not-bad results, despite the pandemic. “Our strong bulk franchise, which included record movements for Canadian grain and potash in the […] Read more


Producer groups say some packer pricing formulas integrate cut-out value into pig prices but not generally enough to accurately reflect supply and demand.  |  File photo

U.S.-based hog prices part of problem: report

Hog producers say the mechanism used to determine prices in Western Canada ignores regional supply and demand

Western Canadian hog pricing is so broken it not only doesn’t reflect supply and demand for pigs but is actually sending the opposite signals that that laws of supply and demand should dictate. It’s such a critical, multi-cause failure that if it is not corrected soon, malfunctioning prairie hog prices could cause the whole industry […] Read more

Producers deserve better from their federal government

Be conservative and plan on 2020-21 prices of US$3.20 per bushel corn and $8.50 soybeans. That was the advice of University of Illinois farm management specialist Gary Schnitkey when talking to Midwestern and Great Plains farmers in late July. If you can make it on those prices you should be OK if you get a […] Read more