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

Despite the difficult growing season, overall yields are close to long-term averages and some regions had excellent yields. Where yields were poor, crop insurance will provide support. Crop insurance quality factors will also help to compensate for downgrading.
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There is a positive side to this gloomy crop year

Crops worth billions of dollars remain in the field as we head into November. Even producers who managed to finish harvest likely had at least some of their production downgraded by wet harvest weather. And many producers face huge grain drying costs. All this comes on top of mediocre prices for many commodities exacerbated by […] Read more

Don’t expect election to end political bickering

Regardless of the election results and what party or parties form government, the election campaign demonstrated how far Canadian politics has shifted to the left of the political spectrum. It also showed that the concerns of farmers don’t rank very high on the political agenda. The Liberals have long been the middle-of-the-road big tent pulling […] Read more

One of the best one-liners in the televised English language debate was NDP leader Jagmeet Singh referring to Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer as Mr. Delay and Mr. Deny when it comes to climate change. | Screencap via YouTube/Canadian Debate Production Partnership

Climate change promises fall short in election

It’s been a disappointing federal election campaign lacking in meaningful policy debate. Instead, voters have heard lots of one-off promises and opponent bashing. One of the election issues has been climate change policy, but that has been simplistic and misleading. One of the best one-liners in the televised English language debate was NDP leader Jagmeet […] Read more

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