Let’s start with seed. If buying certified seed, your level of assurance is good, but no matter the seed source, we should all be saving seed samples for each crop going in the ground just in case there are problems or questions later.  |  File photo

Potential seeding problems require preparation

This year, more than ever, it will be important to monitor and document all the aspects of crop production where things can go wrong. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, disruptions are more likely than usual at every step of the supply chain. Let’s start with seed. If buying certified seed, your level of […] Read more

If you actually follow a commis-sion’s activities and you don’t agree with how check-off dollars are being spent, voice your concerns. Maybe even consider putting your name forward as a director. | Screencap via saskcrops.com

Check-off freeloaders are bad for their business

Oilseeds, cereals, pulses, specialty crops — almost all crops have a producer checkoff to fund research, market development and a host of initiatives guided by elected producers. As farmers, this is our money and these are our organizations. Don’t whine about paying levies unless you take the time to see the work being done and […] Read more

New crop production contracts early this year

Maybe it’s the sky high price of canola. Maybe it’s the tightening stocks-to-use ratio on many commodities. Maybe it’s all the uncertainty in a pandemic-stricken world. Whatever the reasons, new crop production contracts are more widely available than usual for this time of year and some are worthy of consideration. Saskatoon’s Crop Production Show in […] Read more

Trees already growing and current farming practices are “business as usual” and don’t count for emission reductions. | File photo

Fight over federal carbon tax ready to escalate

The Liberal government’s new climate plan boasts that most Canadians will receive more in rebates than they pay in additional carbon tax, but nothing in the plan explains how Canada’s export-reliant industries are supposed to remain competitive. Farm fuel is exempt from the carbon tax and one assumes that will continue to be the case […] Read more

If you have enough grey hair you’ll remember a time when summerfallow was commonly believed to be good for the soil. It was important for the soil to have a break every second year and if you didn’t summerfallow, you were going to wear out your land. | File photo

Soil science can often take back seat to philosophy

More unproven soil science theories seem to propagate each growing season. Science and philosophy have become so intertwined that it’s hard to know where one stops and the other takes over. If you have enough grey hair you’ll remember a time when summerfallow was commonly believed to be good for the soil. It was important […] Read more

Statistical look at farm profitability is insightful

Statistics Canada recently released a raft of farm income and expense statistics. Combing through the numbers provides interesting insights into agricultural profitability. When you look at total net farm income, you quickly see that farm viability is difficult in Newfoundland and Labrador along with Nova Scotia. Despite the supply-managed industries making up a significant portion […] Read more

Farmland concentration: is it really a problem?

Concerns certainly exist regarding the growth of mega farms and the concentration of farmland control. But how many of the concerns are just envy and how many are actually valid? Darrin Qualman of the National Farmers Union is lead author on a new report called Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies. This is certainly […] Read more

Second COVID-19 wave brings new challenges

It was less than a year ago when the Wuhan virus, as it was first known, was first discovered. In February, the World Health Organization named it COVID-19. In March, it was declared a pandemic and the world has been forever changed. Within agriculture, the meat-packing industry faced serious hurdles as workers became infected and […] Read more

Easy to second guess pre-priced grain this year

Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve — the lament over selling grain too soon. Over the past two months, most grain prices have increased significantly. In fact, some of the increases can be characterized as dramatic. Back in the first half of September, for a crop return analysis in this column, I collected pricing data based on published […] Read more

Canadian Agriculture in the 21st Century, Change and Challenges was written by Marvin S. Anderson, an agricultural economist with a wide range of experience who lives and farms in northeastern Alberta. 
| Screencap via MarvinAnderson.com

Book offers thorough examination of agriculture

Once upon a time, people having a discussion or even a disagreement would base their opinions on an agreed upon set of facts. In this modern age of instantly available information, it seems that facts don’t matter as much anymore. I followed a recent Twitter exchange apparently sparked by my column last week regarding AgriStability […] Read more