Fearless predictions for the decade ahead

While 20/20 may be considered good eyesight, having the calendar turn over to 2020 doesn’t improve the vision for future gazing. Despite that, here are some predictions for agriculture in the decade ahead. Warning: some of these may make your blood boil. They aren’t necessarily what I want to see happen; they are what I […] Read more

This is the season for new crop pricing information

Starting next week with Crop Production Week / CropSphere / Crop Production Show in Saskatoon, this is the season for crop marketing information. And this doesn’t necessarily mean the market outlook presentations featured at the various meetings. Oh, I still like listening to a good analysis of supply and demand, but predicting what a crop […] Read more

Producers are justifiably upset over a carbon tax that applies to the propane and natural gas used for grain drying, particularly in a year when such a large percentage of grain has had to be dried. Gasoline and diesel for farm use is exempt. Why not propane and natural gas?
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Government support for farmers seldom simple

Increase AgriStability support to 85 from 70 percent of the reference margin and compensate producers for the carbon tax expense on grain drying. Farmer and farm group seem to have galvanized around these two requests, but neither are as simple or effective as they seem. Producers are justifiably upset over a carbon tax that applies […] Read more

Navigating the confusing world of crop nutrition

With the dollars at play in crop nutrition, it shouldn’t be surprising that companies both reputable and not so reputable all want a piece of the pie. In the Crop Production Costs — 2020 guideline document recently released by Manitoba Agriculture, the assumed fertilizer cost for canola is more than $80 an acre, with hard […] Read more

Yield reports may fuel 2020 acreage shifts

The crop production numbers released Dec. 6 by Statistics Canada will provide lots of fodder for market analysts. Beyond the supply and price analysis, it’s instructive to examine the surprising differences in crop yields for various crops across the three prairie provinces. Flax yields are particularly interesting. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, flax yields for 2019 […] Read more

Equipment innovation is about more than just size

Equipment innovation is a huge factor in making agriculture more efficient. Always has been and likely always will be. However, to truly enhance efficiency while also cutting costs, the innovation has to involve more than bells, whistles and increased horsepower. One of the most publicized events at Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany, this year was the […] Read more

We need a different kind of back-to-work law

We need to come up with a new approach for dealing with work stoppages like the strike that has slowed product shipping at Canadian National Railway to a trickle. Under Conservative governments, railway strikes were typically ended quickly with back-to-work legislation, a solution that pleased most farmers. However, if railway companies can count on a […] Read more

Recent boom years have likely come to an end

Canadian farm income took a nosedive in 2018 and that could be a harbinger of what the numbers will do in 2019 and beyond. Statistics Canada has released an interesting analysis of realized net farm income going back to 2008. The StatsCan report digs deeper than just the raw numbers providing rationale for the major […] Read more

With many producers upgrading their systems this year, more used dryers are on the market, but some are decades old and look rather scary. The time to buy a used dryer is after a couple years without prolonged harvests. | File photo

Wet harvest makes producers look at grain drying

The 2019 harvest from hell has many producers assessing their grain drying capability. This includes upgrading current systems to add capacity and automation, while for others this means a first foray into grain drying equipment. In some regions, grain drying is a fact of life for most harvests. In other regions, there will be years […] Read more

So far, the combine in the field has started each day. It would be a real problem to run it back to the yard every night. Besides, it isn’t even equipped with a block heater since in normal years it’s parked for the season by the end of September.
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Late harvest is an effort in struggle

Combining late in the fall sucks. You work harder and harder for diminishing returns. This hit home the other day when I went to clean the combine windows, normally a routine task. We keep a squeegee in a 20-litre pail filled to about one-third with water. The squeegee handle protrudes through the hole in the […] Read more