Options limited when dealing with a trade bully

The schoolyard bully has you cornered with his hands clasped around your throat. Do you: Smile and pretend everything is fine? Stay calm and try to reason with the bully? Call for help from a dubious ally? Capitulate and promise to hand over all your lunch money? Kick him in the shins even though resistance […] Read more

Who’s testing agronomic truths of the past?

About 100 years ago when I was in ag college, it seemed that western Canadian agronomy had largely been figured out. The textbooks and lectures didn’t leave much room for ambiguity. These days, despite many more years of research, very little seems certain. Doing soil tests before deciding upon fertilizer rates has long been a […] Read more

Unfortunately, over a big chunk of Saskatchewan, a full drought recovery is no longer possible.
 | Paul Yanko photo

Recent showers generate a glimmer of hope

It’s difficult to know if the weather pattern has changed, but some of the parched regions of Western Canada finally received a bit of rain. Unfortunately, over a big chunk of Saskatchewan, a full drought recovery is no longer possible. While crop conditions vary dramatically from one localized area to another and even one field […] Read more

Steps to de-risk agriculture have side-effects

In times of dropping farm incomes, the natural tendency for farmers and farm groups is to call for government assistance. What many fail to realize is that de-risking agriculture is not simple and it can have unintended side-effects. Ask any group of grain farmers about the problems they face and the list will likely include […] Read more

Growing season precipitation, defined as precipitation since April 1, is below normal in almost all of Western Canada. For a big chunk of central Saskatchewan, precipitation has been less than 40 percent of normal. This is surrounded by an even bigger area that’s between 40 and 60 percent.
 | File photo

Drought becomes top-of-mind issue for farmers

It’s an awful start to the growing season. Western Canada is on the brink of a major crop failure and a severe feed shortage. Miraculous turnarounds have occurred in past years and it’s amazing how much can sometimes be produced with very little rain, but the situation is quickly becoming serious. It’s not rare to […] Read more

It appears the court cases will continue for years and the settlements will add up to a massive sum. Many farmers don’t have much sympathy for the big input suppliers, but the lawsuits are going to have ramifications down to the farm level.
 | File photo

Farming without glyphosate forms future

Our heavy reliance on glyphosate is going to change. Exactly how this is going to play out is anyone’s guess, but with the tidal wave of lawsuits alleging cancer from Roundup herbicide the status quo is not sustainable. When the first lawsuits were launched in the United States, many observers expected them to be defeated. […] Read more

New down cycle will be felt across the board

The challenges from a tightening grain sector economy are obvious, but cycles and shifting mentalities also bring opportunities. More than 10 years ago, the confluence of increasing demand from both India and China along with the boom in American ethanol production propelled the grain industry to one of its greatest prolonged periods of prosperity. Now […] Read more

Farmers should consider expectation adjustment

Nothing goes up forever. If the grain sector has a downward correction in profitability or even if we plunge into big losses, it shouldn’t really be a surprise. The only surprise is that the relatively good times lasted so long. Lots of the blame for the current uncertainty and disappointing prices for most grains, oilseeds […] Read more

Big farms choose new tech to fix labour issues

If it can be automated, it will be automated. Farmers and other entrepreneurs continue to opt for more technology and larger-scale operations rather than deal with employees. Recently, I hired a company to install eavestroughs on a pole shed used for machinery storage. I was surprised when a one-person operation arrived at the farm. Rather […] Read more

Canadian canola becomes political football

The chorus is ramping up. The federal government is under increasing pressure to take action on the canola issue. China seems in no mood to open its doors to Canadian canola. Apparently, it won’t even allow a Canadian delegation into the country to talk about the situation. You can perhaps blame the Trudeau government for […] Read more