Crop budget numbers can be misleading

Beware the numbers used when comparing cropping options. Various government and private players get into the game, and this is the time of year when those estimates garner the most attention. Unfortunately, questionable assumptions skew the results. The Saskatchewan agriculture ministry recently released its Crop Planning Guide for 2018. A lot of thought and work […] Read more

Weed control on the Prairies continues to evolve

It’s creeping up on us: herbicide resistance is changing the way we think about weed control. The warnings have been coming for years, but it always seemed like someone else’s concern, or we thought the problems would be solved by new herbicide chemistries before it became serious. Even now, with herbicide resistant weed issues rapidly […] Read more

Caution warranted for upcoming year

Forecasting the economy is a lot like forecasting the weather. Both are reliably unreliable. For predictions of the agricultural economy, you need to forecast both the weather and the general economy, not only at home, but also in key importing and exporting regions around the world. Needless to say, there are poor odds of getting […] Read more

Good records key when seeking compensation

You may have a dispute from time to time with an input supplier, and every now and then a significant dispute will arise that involves a lot of money. Being prepared is the best defence. There are still farmers negotiating with suppliers over a problem with sticky fertilizer from last spring. I’ve heard the same […] Read more

Assessing political risks: tariffs, trade barriers

It isn’t all about supply and demand. Increasingly, the bottom line factor to be concerned about is political risk. An obvious example is the 50 percent tariff on peas going into India, which is applied on top of that country’s fumigation rule, which unfairly singles out Canada. There have also been fears of a potential […] Read more

Consumers are receiving mixed messages

Consumer engagement and education has become an agricultural growth industry, but as the famous adage goes, “we have met the enemy and he is us.” Public trust, or more accurately the lack of public trust, is now recognized as one of the biggest threats facing agriculture. We all know the story. Fewer and fewer consumers […] Read more

Cow-calf profitability not as good as it seems

Cow-calf producers have been pleasantly surprised by the upturn in feeder calf prices through the fall run. However, from a profitability perspective the news isn’t that great. Using 500 to 600 pound steer calves as a benchmark, prices have been trending upward since the end of August, leading many to extol the strength of the […] Read more

Crop profitability becomes more elusive

Pulse crop prices have gone to heck in a hand basket. Lentils have been under serious price pressure, and now India has announced its 50 percent tariff on peas, effectively barricading our number one market. At harvest time, the price for red lentils was soft at around 21 cents a pound. Now, the price has […] Read more

Keeping the fertilizer flowing can be safety hazard

When you consider all the farm mechanization and automation, one procedure still seriously in need of innovation is extracting granular fertilizer from a bin after long-term storage. It can be a dangerous and frustrating exercise. This is the time of year when many producers are filling fertilizer bins, taking advantage of prices that are probably […] Read more

Anti-science revolution could cut grain production

You don’t hear the agriculture boom theory repeated as often anymore. You know, the one where farmers live happily ever after with grain prices that never sink below the cost of production? For most of the last decade, at nearly every gathering of farmers someone would trot out the theory that the future had to […] Read more