Rising grain prices make this drought different

History may not repeat itself, but it rhymes. That piece of wisdom, often attributed to Mark Twain, seems appropriate for the devastating drought that has hit most of Western Canada. Some aspects are the same as previous droughts and some have a different twist. One unique feature is the rapid rise in grain prices occurring […] Read more

The Saskatchewan response makes it a lot more appealing for grain farmers to sell their dried-up crops for greenfeed or grazing. | File photo

Salvaged crop is cattle producers’ best hope

Various programs have been implemented in drought years going back to the early 1980s in an attempt to make feed available for cattle producers. The drought response announced recently by Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit is the most logical and impactful I can remember. In the past, support programs to transport hay have been implemented. […] Read more

Yes, a number of temperature records have been broken. Yes, it’s been abnormally dry in many areas. Yes, there are fields that won’t see a combine. Guess what, we’ve seen in it all before. | File photo

Producers do not need a lecture on climate change

Dried-up crops hurt both your pocketbook and your self-esteem, but what I find particularly irksome is when some armchair quarterback says it’s all because of climate change. Yes, a number of temperature records have been broken. Yes, it’s been abnormally dry in many areas. Yes, there are fields that won’t see a combine. Guess what, […] Read more


The potential was dashed with temperatures that peaked around 40 C. In a matter of days, crops withered and browned. | Getty Images

Recent heat wave takes toll as dry crops suffer

Record-breaking heat over an extended period of time has trimmed the prairie crop dramatically. A record heat wave is bad enough when the soil has decent moisture. Where soil moisture was marginal, production potential has been severely reduced. Even in areas where moisture has been limited, the crop was looking pretty good. Then the potential […] Read more

Observers often complain about Canada’s lack of value-added processing. Somehow the canola crushing industry is overlooked. It’s an amazing success story. | File photo

Recent crush announcements herald yellow wave

The planned expansion of canola crushing capacity in Saskatchewan is nothing short of amazing and will have wide-reaching ramifications. Here’s a recap of recent announcements. Ceres Global is planning a 1.1 million tonne facility near Northgate along the United States border. Cargill has plans for a one million tonne crush plant in Regina. Meanwhile, Viterra […] Read more


Once you’ve chosen an in-crop herbicide, the most basic question is how many acres per jug or per litre. All too often, it’s difficult to find the answer.
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Herbicide use can be needlessly complicated

Herbicide use is more complicated than it needs to be. The trouble starts with units of measure and extends through to recommended practices. Once you’ve chosen an in-crop herbicide, the most basic question is how many acres per jug or per litre. All too often, it’s difficult to find the answer. Yes, rates vary for […] Read more

Farm equipment has been hit by a double whammy. The demand for new iron is strong at a time when the pandemic has caused component part shortages limiting the supply of new units. | File photo

Boom times bring with them unique challenges

Economically, the grain sector has rarely been more buoyant and optimistic. Grain prices have surged and drought worries have been reduced by the recent widespread rains. This comes as grain sector income levels were already showing significant increases. It’s the best of times, but that comes with ramifications. The most recent data on land prices […] Read more



A lot of breeding work has been done to improve alfalfa, but a real advancement would be an alfalfa variety susceptible to a low-cost herbicide. | File photo

Improved varieties would reduce herbicide waste

Here are some random ideas for cutting waste, cutting costs and thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Alfalfa is a great forage crop, but as a grain producer who collaborates with cattle producing neighbours, I see it as a difficult-to-control weed. While this deep-rooted perennial will sometimes be killed over winter, trying to kill it with […] Read more

In my area of southwestern Saskatchewan, a recent bid put July barley at an amazing $6.90 a bushel with new crop at $5.50 to $5.70 a bu. depending upon delivery month. Can anyone remember barley being that profitable? Little wonder that barley acreage is up dramatically this year. | File photo

Economic disparity widens between grain, cattle

One of the few possible ways to lose money growing barley this year is to feed it to your own cattle. Of course, the threat of not growing a decent crop always exists and there’s also the possibility of a dramatic drop in new crop barley prices if you don’t lock in any values in […] Read more