Expanding the farm at all costs can be disastrous

All the trade issues are well known. So is the weather risk. While farm income levels have been exceptionally strong over an extended number of years, the party in the grain sector seems to be ending. Finances are tightening up and the years ahead could be a struggle. As farmers, we often point out that […] Read more

This year’s late harvest has domino effect

The immature crops, rain and snow that have delayed harvest will have wide-ranging ramifications: some are obvious and some are not. The financial hit is at the top of the obvious list. A lot of malting barley has been reduced to feed and a great deal of wheat and durum will now fall into the […] Read more

Climate action takes on religious undertones

A new religion is sweeping the world — the religion of climate change. Like many of the ancient religious dogmas, it relies more on faith than evidence and also like traditional religions, it runs the risk of becoming fanatical. For the firm believers, evidence of climate change devastation is everywhere. Every weather anomaly is now […] Read more

Market analysts will never run out of work

How often do you pull into the field with your combine and end up being surprised, either positively or negatively, by the yield? For me it happens all the time. I’d like to believe that I can estimate crop yield by plus or minus 10 percent, but the variance is often larger than that. Part […] Read more

Farmers face dismal prices and dismal returns

At the average yields being projected by Statistics Canada and with prevailing price levels, none of the typical crops in Saskatchewan cover total expenses. Some crops don’t even cover all their variable expenses. Crop prices used in this analysis come from numerous sources and I try to use an f.o.b. farm price on everything for […] Read more

Outlook on farms is dim as crop prices languish

With the exception of a few bright spots, crop prices are disappointing. As harvest gears up, many producers are facing lower returns than their cropping budgets projected. The biggest kick in the pants has to be canola. The 2019 Crop Planning Guide from Saskatchewan Agriculture published in January used a projected canola price of $11.59 […] Read more

It's not a question of

Lessons learned from recent equipment hiccups

The maple pea harvest was going nicely with a couple combines rumbling along. Then I spotted a smoke trail from charred chaff on the ground across the field. The other combine must have a fire issue. Fortunately, the slight wind was blowing away from the unharvested crop and the smouldering was quickly ended with a […] Read more

Scenes from the field reveal the nature of farmers

A large, powerful jackrabbit is bounding through the pea crop in front of the combine. His hiding place has been disturbed by the harvest operation, but he’s afraid to leave the cover provided by the thick peas. Outside of the crop, he’d be nimble and fast. Within the peas he struggles, the vines slowing his […] Read more

Have you ever considered an equity partner?

Want to expand your farm for the next generation? Want to buy out some of your landlords? Want to work your way out of a difficult financial situation? A Canadian company called Area One Farms partners with producers to meet these sorts of objectives. The company has relied on word-of-mouth advertising and even though it […] Read more

Fallout widespread from pulse processor closure

The financial demise of Ilta Grain is sending shockwaves through the prairie grain industry. For the hundreds of farmers owed money by Ilta, the key question is whether or not Ilta’s bond with the Canadian Grain Commission will be large enough to cover the unpaid grain deliveries. Producers may get all of their money or […] Read more