Due to the severe drought and intense heat this summer, flax production has been estimated at 378,800 tonnes, down 34.5 percent from last year. | File photo

Flax crop takes hit

WINNIPEG (MarketsFarm) — Prices for flax have skyrocketed this year as production falls and demand increases, says Dale McManus of Johnston’s Seeds in Welwyn, Sask. He said Johnston’s was paying $38 per bushel for golden flax picked up off of the farm and brown flax was fetching $36 to $37 per bushel. Growers in Saskatchewan […] Read more

Because of widespread drought conditions, many growers don't have enough grain to meet delivery obligations and are facing stiff contract penalties. | File photo

APAS launches grain contract penalties survey

Saskatchewan’s general farm organization has launched an on-line survey, asking farmers to share information about financial penalties stemming from unfilled grain contracts. The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says its survey is aimed at learning more about the financial costs incurred by drought-affected farmers who are unable to meet their contract obligations. Low yields […] Read more

Force of the Golden Rule appears through Hay West

Force of the Golden Rule appears through Hay West

There are few things more stressful than owning livestock while knowing available feed and water may run out over a prairie winter. Drought hurts grain producers’ pocketbooks but when feed is in short supply or of poor quality, it’s about more than money for stock growers. Insurance, risk management tools, bank loans — and a […] Read more

Duncan Morrison, executive director of the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, looks at a stunted corn crop in the rural municipality of Two Borders in southwestern Manitoba earlier this summer. | Ed White photo

Man. drought far from over despite recent rain

Precipitation in last six weeks has been welcome but not enough to compensate for a year of exceptionally dry weather

Manitoba is finally green. From April to early August, lawns, pastures and hay crops looked dead and brown in much of the province. However, thanks to above average rainfall in the last six weeks, the brown colour shifted to green. The green lawns and pastures are nice to look at, but the colour is deceptive […] Read more

Officials say Alberta’s irrigation systems, which convey water from the rivers that form the South Saskatchewan Basin, did well this year to keep up with demand. | File photo

Alta. irrigation districts say system passed drought test

Increased efficiencies meant districts didn’t draw their full licensed allocation despite the need for extra water due to heat and dry weather

It’s been a tough year for farmers but leaders in two of Alberta’s largest irrigation districts say they were able to meet demand and continue to do more with less water. “I think the kind of heat we had for the last two weeks of June is something that — speaking with a lot of […] Read more

Presenting and discussing interesting ideas and their real-world results will be part of what Larry Wegner, chair of Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, hopes will happen at the fourth annual Regenerative Ag Conference his association is hosting in Brandon Nov. 15-17. | Screencap via mfga.net

Farmers often dare to experiment — and sometimes fail

Improving the Prairies: Upcoming conference will allow producers to compare notes on what works and what doesn’t

This story is part of an ongoing series that looks at how many farmers are attempting to preserve their soil while increasing profits. You can find the first story in this series – For the love of soil – here. VIRDEN, Man. — Some things work, some things don’t. This year has turned out to be […] Read more

Alf Epp and Gayle Smith of Sunny Plain Ranch near Clavet, Sask., have had to increase their rates for boarding horses as a shortage of premium hay pushes feed costs higher. | Elizabeth Ireland photo

Horse owners struggle with shortage of good-quality hay

A boarding facility near Saskatoon says finding adequate feed supplies has been its number one concern this year

SASKATOON — With 10 horses of their own and another 28 boarding on their property near Clavet, Sask., Gayle Smith and Alf Epp of Sunny Plain Ranch run one of the largest equine boarding facilities in the Saskatoon area. Sunny Plain is busy with English and Western discipline lessons and visiting clinicians. Smith and Epp […] Read more

Merlis Wiebe and Daryl Bueckert unload and stack the first truckload of hay that arrived in Saskatchewan last week as part of Hay West. The hay was received at Wiebe’s farm near Osler, Sask., Sept. 10 as part of an effort to deliver hay from Ontario to drought-affected farmers in Saskatchewan. | William DeKay photo

Eastern hay arrives in the West

A light sprinkle of rain fell as the first two truckloads of alfalfa-timothy hay from Ontario arrived at Merlis Wiebe’s farm northeast of Osler, Sask., on Sept. 10. They are part of Hay West, a new program from Mennonite Disaster Service to help drought-affected farmers in Saskatchewan. The initiative is a repeat of 2012 Hay […] Read more

Daryl Beswitherick, program manager for national inspection standards with the Canadian Grain Commission, estimates 60 to 70 percent of  the prairie crop was still in the field  during the late-season downpour. | Twitter/@wxamorilla7 photo

Recent rain threatens grain quality

Western Canadian farmers can’t catch a break this year. It is bad enough that a severe lack of moisture in June and July decimated yields. Now there are mounting concerns that the rains that finally arrived in the last half of August are causing quality damage. “It is concerning for sure,” said Daryl Beswitherick, program […] Read more

A cattle analyst thinks the herd reduction due to drought may not be as bad as many first feared. | Jeannette Greaves photo

Recent rain may keep cows at home

Increased confidence since moisture fell last month is expected to prompt more producers to avoid selling off their herds

The psychological boost from recent rainfall after the prairie drought could keep some cattle from going to market. Canfax manager and senior market analyst Brian Perillat told the Canadian Beef Industry Conference last week that predicting what will happen based on weather is always tricky, but anecdotally it seems that cattle producers will hold on […] Read more